The Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) kicked off their three day conference and exhibition this morning at the CTICC, with Premier Helen Zille delivering the welcoming address.
Expecting over 1 500 delegates, the event aims to raise public awareness and understanding of the role WISA, its patrons and members within the water sector across Southern Africa have been doing in response to the province’s drought. Further to this, the exhibition will be open free of charge to the public on Tuesday, 26 June from 13h30 to 17h00, to register visit www.wisa2018.org.za.
Cape Town and the Western Cape – Africa’s leading tourist region – is well on its way to building a water resilient city, as it develops numerous responses to its severe drought. Over the past three years, citizens, industry and the tourism sector have dramatically cut consumption of water by almost 60% – this is a world-beating performance that has not yet been matched by any other major city globally.
WISA CEO, Lester Goldman explains how the theme of the event, Breaking barriers, Connecting ideas, seeks to address past, existing and future water resource challenges by promoting collaboration, cooperation and integration within the water sector.
The Water and Sanitation Minister Gugile Nkwinti and Clem Sunter, Futurologist and Scenario Planner, addressed delegates this morning. Speakers still to feature include Tony Wong, Chief Executive of the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities, and Samantha Yates, Secretary General of the Global Water Leaders Group.
The exhibition side of the event will pay special tribute to the work being undertaken by the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government in the establishment of the section 30 Technical Committee – which manages to deal with new technology and services being offered and proposed with the ongoing crises. Matchmaking industries to water saving technologies, the committee has assisted with more than 250 registrations of companies and technologies to date.
Featuring as a sponsor of the Exhibition, Wesgro’s Head of the Convention Bureau, Corne Koch, commented: “Never before have conferences of this nature been so significant. Meetings and conferences don’t only add economic value to the tourism value chain but provide cross-selling and networking opportunities to further boost economic growth. The public exhibition provides a platform for businesses to meet with potential investors and create awareness of the innovation that it taking place around creating a water resilient province.”
Supporting the enabling environment created by the public exhibition, Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, added: “Climate change is a new reality that will continue to affect cities around the world in up-coming years. Cape Town and the Western Cape is currently demonstrating how to build a water resilience destination – with the joint response from government, business and the tourism sector. The growth we have seen thus far in water saving services and technologies has been incredible, demonstrating how businesses and our economy are using innovative ways to adapt to changes in our environment. We applaud WISA for creating a platform for industries employing best practices to exhibit, like minded businesses to connect and industry specialists to address pertinent topics around water resilience.”
Looking to leave a legacy, drought tolerant trees will be auctioned at tomorrow evening’s Gala Dinner. The trees and the proceeds will be used as part of Green Pops afforestation activities as well as supporting green education activities in Western Cape schools. Further to this, WISA will be looking out for how they can better support and integrate SME’s offering domestic water saving solutions at the public water exhibition.