Cape should follow Israel where 35% of its drinking water comes from the sea

By Alec Hogg

Cape Town is at its best in February. There’s little wind and the bright summer sunlight makes Table Mountain picture perfect. But as I discovered yesterday, right now no visitor to the city will be unaware of the region’s natural challenge.

There are signs everywhere encouraging guests to conserve water – and there was even an egg timer in my hotel room’s shower. You get the feeling this is one crisis that will surely not be wasted.

More to the point, the Cape’s drought stimulated unprecedented research into long-term weather patterns. The historic charts show weather scientists have been telling the truth – global warming has made a permanent impact on Southern Africa’s long-term rainfall patterns.

That reality is being absorbed across society, with ideas being aggressively sought from other dry nations. Israel would be a good place to start: 35% of that nation’s drinking water now comes from desalination, a figure set to grow annually to its targeted 70% by 2050. Hopefully the Cape’s economic leadership is paying attention.

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