Managing the Risk of Flooding and Sea-level Rise in Cape Town : the Power of Collective Governance

The city of Cape Town is facing the dual challenge of redressing the legacy apartheid (inequality and spatial segregation) and responding to climate change. Over the past two decades, the rate of residential and commercial development in the city almost doubled. Much of the expansion took place along the coastline and on inland areas prone to flooding. Many of the city's poorest communities reside on low-lying land. In March 2003 and April 2005, damage incurred by Western Cape province as a result of floods exceeded US $30 million. In July 2009, it was reported that up to 20 000 residents of informal settlements were driven out of their waterlogged homes.

Projections indicate that the frequency and intensity of sea-level rise and flooding will increase with climate change. In the past, the city of Cape Town tried to manage flooding reactively. In 2008, it took some steps toward planning, preparedness and risk mitigation. Building on this initiative, this project will endeavor to coordinate responses to flooding and sea-level rise, and strengthen climate change adaptation efforts through individual and institutional capacity building, and institutional partnerships between civil society, government, the private sector and the scientific community.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Friday, January 1, 2010

End Date

Monday, July 1, 2013


36 months

IDRC Officer

Leone, Michele

Total funding

CA$ 564,400


North of Sahara, South of Sahara


Climate Change

Project Leader

Anton Cartwright

Project Leader

Gina Ziervogel


University of Cape Town

Institution Country

South Africa

Institution Website