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UN climate envoy briefed on Cape Town water crisis
Colvin, who is Senior Manager: Freshwater with WWF, was among a delegation of prominent environmental and water experts invited to discuss how cities can accelerate their preparations for an uncertain water future in the face of climate change.
The visit was Bloomberg’s first undertaking following his appointment this week as UN Special Envoy for Climate Action. He is the founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and a former three-term Mayor of New York City.
Other experts in the delegation included Peter Flower, Director Water & Sanitation, City of Cape Town; Dr Gisela Kaiser, Executive Director: Informal Settlements, Water and Waste, City of Cape Town; and Dr Kevin Winter, Future Water Research Institute, University of Cape Town.
Bloomberg said: “The extreme drought here in Cape Town should be a wake-up call for all who think that climate change is some far off threat. It's already here, it's making droughts and storms more dangerous, and we've got to do more to keep it from getting worse. Cities and businesses are helping to lead the way, but all levels of society in all countries - on all continents - must take bolder actions. We cannot let droughts like this become common around the world.”
Colvin said: “The current Cape water crisis has had a dramatic impact not just on water availability, but also our relationship with water. Water has suddenly become everybody’s business as households and the private sector have scrambled to secure alternate, off-mains supplies and improve their levels of water-use efficiency and independent water security.
“A ‘New Normal’ is going to require a diversification of water sources and a rethink of our current infrastructure. Catchments, aquifers and our water source areas are a critical component of that infrastructure. They require direct attention and investment as part of our future economic development. The natural links in our water value chain can no longer be allowed to fall through the administrative gaps between national government and water service providers.
“As we move to more decentralised use with thousands of individuals managing boreholes, recycling systems and rain water, we need to find a new model that enables us all to be both consumers and custodians of this our shared water resources.”
See full media release here.