Climate change and urban development in southern Africa: The case of Ekurhuleni Municipality (EMM) in South Africa
In this paper, outcomes from an investigation of plausible climate futures over the next century, and the potential impacts on water services including water resource management and disaster risk reduction, such as flash flooding in Ekurhuleni (EMM), are presented. Four key aspects are examined: (i) the extent to which the frequency of extreme rainfall events may change in South Africa as a result of climate change; (ii) the identification of some of the implications of extreme rainfall events for local government (iii) the identification of some of the challenges communities most at risk of flooding as a result of extreme rainfall events face, finally, (iv) the opportunities for future co-production of design methods and approaches to reduce current and future climate risks in EMM and elsewhere. Climate modelling conducted for this research indicates that it is plausible for an increase in the number of extreme rainfall events to occur over central and eastern South Africa over the next century. Over EMM, for example, an increase in extreme rainfall events is likely to be accompanied by flash flooding and a range of deleterious impacts, if planning and maintenance of the water services infrastructure is not improved – a result that is likely to be valid for all large metropolitan municipalities in the country. The paper provides some lessons learnt when trying to include a climate risk reduction approach into the planning of urban development.
Keywords: Flash flooding, urban risk environments, climate change and climate variability