What happens when a city runs out of water and healthy food supplies are threatened? It happened to Cape Town

11 November 2021

Creating a city that is resilient to the effects of climate change needs the inclusion and support of many stakeholders and the help of its residents.

When faced with a situation where the city was running out of water and food supplies were threatened, Cape Town, South Africa, had to take action.  In this video, Ian Neilson, Deputy Mayor, Alderman and Tamsin Faragher, Principal Resilience Officer, City of Cape Town, describe how they dealt with the realisation that this was a reality for the city. Cape Town was facing Day Zero – when there would be no water for the residents or businesses  – and, among other issues, how the lack of water would impact food supply and security.

By a coordinated communications strategy and developing community engagement, Cape Town managed to put back the date of Day Zero until the rains came. But facing such a potentially catastrophic situation highlighted how crucial having a resilience strategy for the city was. The film introduces the Cape Town Resilience Strategy, a holistic programme involving many stakeholders, which was developed to prepare for the impact and challenges of climate change and practices to ensure a thriving food system is maintained.

The strategy outlines how a city can, as one of its pillars of resilience, plan for developing and maintaining resilient food systems that can provide healthy, nutritious food for its residents.

This case study of how Cape Town dealt with Day Zero – will resonate with other cities, which wish to be able to become more resilient to some of the impacts of climate change.