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Digital Subscriptions > Cities Today > Issue 23 > Why collaboration is key to creating water-wise cities

Why collaboration is key to creating water-wise cities

In a rapidly urbanising world, a lot of attention is rightly focused on the challenges surrounding transport, housing, energy and employment. Yet many cities with steeply rising populations often neglect a resource that is essential to sustaining all activities in a city: water. Nick Michell highlights how cities can work towards achieving sustainable water systems and the benefits that will bring

Water as a risk needs to be understood and managed to ensure the security of people’s habitats and livelihoods. Historical development pathways are often not appropriate for planning future urban water systems, considering the uncertainties of climate change and rapid population growth. Planning these systems with increased modularity and reduced dependencies will enhance the ability to react to unforeseen trends and events.

Water is the foundation of a well functioning urban system
Photo: City of Milwaukee

This is why the International Water Association (IWA) has developed the Principles for Water-Wise Cities, which were unveiled at the Association’s global Congress last November. The Principles aim to inspire urban leaders, water managers, individuals and other stakeholders to collaboratively find solutions on urban water management challenges, and to implement water-wise management strategies through a shared vision that will enable the development of flexible and adaptable cities.

“Cities striving to achieve sustainable urban water, are cities where all urban waters are used and managed by water-wise communities: citizens, professionals, leaders all acting in a wise way towards their water resources,” says Corinne Trommsdorff, Manager, Cities of the Future Programme, IWA. “They are cities that are connected to their basins to maximise security from floods and droughts, as well as protect the quality of their freshwater source. They are cities built in a way that is sensitive to water issues so that short-term risks are minimised and resources are preserved, while liveability is improved as a cobenefit.”

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