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Tauw develops climate adaptation maps for Africa

Datum: 15-01-2018

Urban flooding and thermal stress have become key issues for many cities around the world. With the continuing effects of climate change, these two issues will become more acute and will add to the serious problems already experienced in dense urban areas.

In Capetown the worst drought in a century is forcing the most stringent water restrictions ever implemented for South Africa's second largest city. The city has less than 10% of its useable water remaining for its nearly 4 million residents. For this reason Tauw is developing urban climate maps for special climates as South Africa.

Thermal stress map for Johannesburg
These maps such as heatstressmaps are developed since the sectors of public health and disaster management are in need of tools that can assess the vulnerability to floods and thermal stress. A GIS-based thermal stress map for Johannesburg (figure 1) is made and was presented during the economic mission to South Africa (Cape Town, December 2017) to stakeholders and received with much interest.

During this mission was concluded that there is a wealth of opportunities for innovative Dutch businesses and startups to help tackle local challenges. Climate change is causing more extreme weather: longer periods of drought, higher temperatures causing heatstress, more severe storms and heavier rains battering our coasts and our cities.

Beyond climate change response we can build sustainable and resilient cities, working in the sectors represented on this trade mission: water & maritime, climate and technology − sectors that are pivotal to the transformation needed.

Implementation in South Africa
For this reason Tauw will work closely with stakeholders in South Africa on new tools as heatstressmaps to tackle this wicked problems. Research with Capetown university will focus on verification of the heatstressmap and developing and mapping solutions to cool down urban dense areas and make cities more resilient.

Lessons learnt from this approach in Asia and Europe will be used by the implementation in South Africa. The strategy and results will be presented at the Adaptation Futures 2018 conference in Capetown. On this congress the Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation (GCECA) will also be launched. Tauw joined the Groningen GCECA network at the climate top in the North of the Netherlands in November 2017.

Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation (GCECA)
The Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation (GCECA) is working to build excellence in order to accelerate progress on climate adaptation, by convening groups of stakeholders worldwide and supporting projects that can increase or measure the impact of actions. It bridges various domains and engages with stakeholders from national, regional and local governments, NGOs, multilateral organisations, businesses, financial parties and knowledge institutions.

The Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation will be accommodated in Rotterdam and Groningen. These two cities have reeled in the GCECA by jointly submitting the most convincing bid and will be launched at Adaptation Futures 2018, Dialogue for Solutions, Capetown.

 Heatstress map Johannesburg indicating high temperatures ‘heatstress’ (red) and relatively low temperatures (blue) to help urban planners to implement measures for climate adaptation.