As urban populations increase, and climate change places more stress on water availability, finding ways to increase water for residents has never been a more important challenge to address.
A 50% increase in urban water demand is predicted by the World Bank over the next 30 years. If cities cannot meet this demand, they will struggle to create a larger sense of security, sustainable economic development and well-being for their residents.
Transforming water-scarce cities into water-secure cities requires improved water management, increased investment, and a better understanding of the poorest residents.
To place a city’s water supply on a sustainable footing, water resource management needs to be combined with improved service delivery at the citywide level.
Urban water resiliency requires targeted action at every stage from source to settlement.
Water security at the city level
Water-secure cities need to be able to provide equitable access to all its residents, in especially low-income residents who might live in peri-urban areas, inner city settlements, or even in wealthier parts of the city.
Successful utilities need to be focused on low-income residents as a core customer segment: understanding how to develop and market affordable services, create flexible payment models, and manage complex relationships with communities.
Building resilience against climate change
Water insecurity is rising because of climate change, with water availability becoming more erratic and flooding often contaminating clean water supplies and damaging infrastructure. The poorest are hit hardest by this lack of security.
Improving management of sanitation waste
Water security cannot be tackled without improving sanitation in under-served communities. As a result of inadequate sanitation services, waste from toilets ends up in the water system, contaminating water supplies and causing serious public health risks.