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The city of Cape Town in South Africa successfully reduced its water use by more than half in three years. The case demonstrates that resource consumption can be reduced substantially and maintained at lower levels over a long period of time, at least in the face of an imminent threat of shortages.Cape Town’sexperience is directly relevant to other cities needing to reduce demand for scarce resources in the face of climate change or rapid population growth. Yet the initiative has also been criticised for exacerbating existing water inequalities faced bylow-income communities and women. The case study therefore also highlights theneed to simultaneously addressother structural problems including among other things, the lack of voice and participation of women and marginalised communities indecision making and inequality of access to water.

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