This brief was written by Johara Bellali, Meaghan  Parker and Yann Robiou du Pont, based on a VLED commissioned research on ”participative bioregional planning and water sensitive design for South African local governments” by M.Maynard  and C.Bester carried out in 2016 and interviews with Belynda Petrie, One World solutions, Cape Town, South Africa. This brief uses the South African example to illustrate a global issue. It will provide an overview of the links between water, adaptation and mitigation; and present an alternative approach to water planning at multiple levels.