With parts of the Western Cape entering into the rainy season, and the recent heavy rainfall that caused flooding, flood resilience expert Tjeerd Driessen says South Africa needs to invest in "future-proof" infrastructure.
"If you have more rainfall events normally, the infrastructure should also increase to cope with those bigger events for example, if you have a bridge and it is sized for 1980, but we have a flood event in 2050, then we may need to have a bigger bridge," he explained.
Driessen, who is a director of business development water at RoyalHaskoningDHV, said there were several things that complicated and strained existing stormwater systems in the country's cities, such as rapid urbanisation and climate change.
"When we talk about the stormwater infrastructure, the difficulty we have there is that they are not properly maintained, which means it's eroding and breaking off during a flood event. Also, quite often in South Africa, you see a lot of garbage, so littering in the flood planes actually obstructs the flow, and that's logically resulting in more flooding," he said.
He said technology - such as unique flood risk early warning systems which are able to pinpoint, down to the street address where floods are going to occur - was essential in planning for future-proof infrastructure, but was not the only solution.
"It's important to note that it is not only technology that will solve the problem. I really think that the end goal should be to arrive at a resilient city that embraces water and technology that can help us to get there, but it's not only technology.
"We need to think about the climatic, environmental and social complexities in the city. Public participation and urban planning are very important to reach that resilience stage," he said.