What is W12?

The City of Cape Town proudly welcomes you to the W12 Congress, an International Conference and Expo that seeks to create the world’s first Major City Best Practice Water Protocol and strengthen the citizen-driven governance of alternative sustainable water solutions.

The Congress brings together city officials, academics, business executives, water experts, and students from the major cities in the world that are likely to face a Day Zero scenario in the next 24 – 36 months. Cape Town was the first major city to face what has become known as Day Zero: the day water resources are completely depleted and taps run dry.

This International Event will be held in Cape Town from the 27th – 31st January 2020 to brainstorm and share strategic actions to mitigate the water crisis. The recent drought, increasing population and expansion negatively impacted Cape Town’s economy, citizens and enterprises across industries and communities. Thanks to concerted efforts from all sectors Day Zero was averted, for now.

W12 Congress is a run by a unique collaboration between the University of the Western Cape, Stellenbosch University Water Institute, University of Cape Town, Save Our Schools NPO, and the Institute for Ecological Civilization. These entities collectively aim to create the world’s first “Major City Best Practice Water Protocol” by aggregating knowledge within and across thematic areas and different geographies, ultimately creating a roadmap for change and inspiring engagement in solutions to this imminent crisis.

In partnership with UNESCO, the W12 Congress will form an integral part of a Netflix Documentary entitled “Water Wise: How Not to Drain a Country”.

Why is W12 Important?

By 2050 almost 2 billion people living in cities will suffer water shortages as demand for water increases by up to 70% (World Bank). Extremely high water stress can threaten national security. Solutions must be found and implemented now. The need to work together locally and internationally to ensure the future of our world’s water is evident.

This conference provides an opportunity for city officials, academics, citizens, and industry leaders to join keynote speakers Arnold Schwarzenegger, Irina Bokova and Jesper Theilgaard among other experts, exchanging ideas and sharing solutions. The objective is to share insights on challenges, best practices and brainstorm practical solutions for water and climate resilience. We will achieve this not only from a city and industry point of view but down to where it really matters; citizen-driven actions.

The W12 Congress will include inspiring presentations to incite energy and engagement in the solutions discussed in this multiday event and a Major Cities Best Practice Water Protocol.