Abstract for:A Model in Conversation: Assessment of Cape Town Desalination (ACTDesal)

Within Cape Town, weather variability has led to a 3-year failure to meet the set yield requirements by the government – resulting in a serious drought, whereas dam levels have been pushed to as little as 18% of their total capacity in May 2018 (GreenCape, 2018). As water demands continue to grow and dams within the Cape region are almost reaching their limit capacity, Cape Town is one of the South African coastal cities that are considering augmentation programs as a potential future water supply source. This research attempts to map the entire water supply and demand system in the City of Cape Town and subsequently chooses to focus on desalination as this is has a relaibility of essentially 100 percent. However, the increased reliability comes at a cost. Attempting to ensure sustainable development, this research explores the multiple costs and benefits in their interdependent forms of water supply systems, regarding financial costs of desalination, possible socio-economic impacts thereof and the implication on the environment.The action research project in conversation with stakeholders uses System Dynamics modelling (SD) to assess the city’s short- and long-term desalination strategies and plans in order to develop an interactive decision support system that is useful to both technical and non-technical stakeholders.