Journal of Comparative Urban Law and Policy


Water is a business driver and a substantial source of both wealth and risk. Water is also under increasing statutory and legislative pressure as jurisdictions strive to manage water resources more holistically by addressing both surface and groundwater together, but on a more decentralized and sustainable basis. The potential collapse of the municipal water system in Cape Town, South Africa serves as a stark alarm for cities in arid and semi-arid, Mediterranean-like environments. This risk is especially true of cities like Marseilles, France and regions like California. By comparing the impacts of the water law in these different jurisdictions, this paper will look to identify the emerging revelations, as well as the common themes that need to be addressed before the problems in Cape Town are repeated and cause similar impacts elsewhere. A review of the challenges facing Cape Town, Provence and California makes clear that any solutions will require that the legal, political and financial frameworks all be addressed in a coordinated fashion.

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