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.

Protecting groundwater

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.

March 2022: Time to give groundwater a little respect

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.

Read our infographic to learn how water flows through cities


How water flows through cities

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.

November 2021: Integrate with wider city resilience: collaboration with other areas is crucial

October 2021: Use every drop: helping water providers fight back against climate-driven water scarcity

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.

November 2021: Strengthen systems: foundations for climate resilience in the long term

October 2021: The missing link in climate adaptation: how improved access to water and sanitation is helping cities adapt to climate change

Learn more about how WSUP’s work helps cities adapt to climate change

Moroto slums Mombasa

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.

February 2022: A round-up of SWEEP: WSUP’s solution to tackle Bangladesh’s sanitation challenge

November 2021: Safely managed onsite sanitation: a life changer for low-income communities