WATCH: W12 water conference

Camps Bay hosted the world's first physically distanced drive-in conference.
World’s first physically distanced drive-in conference. Video: KAREN WATKINS

Camp’s Bay hosted the world’s first physically distanced drive-in conference. The W12 Waterwise Future conference, originally scheduled for May in Stellenbosch, was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Instead it took place on Thursday October 22 on a field at Maiden’s Cove. Attendees were given the option of attending the event and tuning in their radios to hear speakers or to be there virtually, some of them around the world.

Surrounded by Lion’s Head, Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles and the Atlantic Ocean chairperson of the City’s special water and waste portfolio committee, Clive Justus, opened the event.

Television and radio personality Koketso Sachane then welcomed Wesgro CEO Tim Harris. He said Cape Town looks forward to welcoming visitors in person to the tech capital of Africa.

Guest speaker was Salva Dut, founder and President of Water for South Sudan. Born to the Dinka tribe in a rural village in southwestern Sudan at 11 years old, the Sudanese Civil War reached his village and separated him from his family. He joined thousands of boys, known as the “lost boys,” on their journey by foot to seek safety in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. This is the inspiration and vision behind the humanitarian not-for-profit organisation, which drills wells to provide safe, fresh water to remote villages of one of the world’s poorest regions.

W12 refers to cities facing similar water challenges – Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Istanbul, Moscow, London, Bangalore, Beijing, Cairo, Jakarta, Tokyo, Miami and Cape Town.

At the announcement of the W12 Water congress at the V&A Waterfront earlier this year, UNESCO hydrology expert from the University of Arizona, Professor Pablo Garcia-Chevesich, stressed the need for awareness over how rapidly climate change is approaching and its effects of drought, hurricanes, flooding and tornadoes. He urged residents and governments to learn from other parts of the world which have had to adapt in order to survive.

Some of these new technologies and solutions featured in Brave Blue World. The congress launched this new documentary which features Matt Damon, Liam Neeson and Jaden Smith. It paints an optimistic picture of how people are adopting ways to re-think and manage global water and sanitation challenges.

On the lighter side, Muizenberg singer song writer and founder of Greenpops, Jeremy Loops performed songs from his latest album Critical as Water between panel discussions by world leaders in water and sanitation.