The Greater Cape Town Water Fund

The Greater Cape Town Water Fund
Published: 15 October 2020
Last edited: 15 October 2020
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The Greater Cape Town Water Fund (GCTWF) was established by The Nature Conservancy in collaboration with the City of Cape Town and a coalition of partners in response to serious water insecurity in the greater Cape Town region.


The GCTWF brings together private and public sectors stakeholders to restore the catchments supplying the city's water. The Fund aims to support and align with existing initiatives and act as a catalyst for systemic change in catchment management by cost-effective use of resources, strengthened capacity, and robust monitoring and evaluation.


The Fund will stimulate funding and implementation of catchment restoration efforts and, in the process, create jobs and momentum to protect global biodiversity and build more resilient communities in the face of climate change.


In 2018, the Fund published a business case for ecological infrastructure investment which articulated the value of landscape-level interventions to secure and protect critical water catchment areas around Cape Town.


East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Freshwater ecosystems
River, stream
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Urban wetlands
Access and benefit sharing
Ecosystem services
Infrastructure maintenance
Invasive alien species
Science and research
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Ecosystem loss
Invasive species
Sustainable development goals
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 9: Invasive alien species prevented and controlled
Target 11: Protected areas
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Target 20: Mobilizing resources from all sources


Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa


The Business Case puts forward ecological infrastructure restoration as a critical component of efforts to enhance water security for all users of the Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS)


Results from the assessment show that investing US$ 25.5 million in the critical WCWSS sub-catchments will generate expected annual water gains of 100 billion litres (100 Mm3) within thirty years, half of which would become available in just 5 years compared to the business as usual scenario.


The study found that catchment restoration is significantly more cost-effective than other water augmentation solutions, supplying water at one-tenth the unit cost of alternative options. It produces greater water yields than all other supply options except desalination, which is far more costly. The results of catchment restoration programmes will become rapidly, with improved supply showing as soon as the first winter rains arrive. Furthermore, catchment restoration produces water yield gains into perpetuity if areas cleared of invasive alien plants are properly maintained.

Contributed by

Matthew Koehorst Greenpop, IUCN Urban Alliance

Other contributors

The Nature Conservancy