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.
Groundwater is by its very nature, invisible to the communities and the decision-makers that depend on it. Pollution from sanitation waste, run-off from agriculture, and unmanaged abstraction are depleting the supply of safe water from underground aquifers and causing challenges for urban water security. Protecting groundwater is essential if we are to meet one of humanity’s most basic needs – the need for safe, clean, water.
How water flows through cities
Improvements to water security require coordinated action right across the water cycle, from water source right into the city to benefit all users, and then being returned safely back into the environment. Collaboration between a wide range of partners – including industry, governments, residents, the water utility and private operators – is essential.
Developing a plan to protect water resources
In the face of climate change, the sector must work together with public authorities and partners to respond to the risks of water insecurity and develop systems that protect water resources and therefore better plan for, manage, and supply the city with water.
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.