Sustainable Urban Water Management (SUWM) is a paradigm in which decentralisation is key. There has been little work directed towards the large-scale possibilities of decentralised water systems and their implications on the functioning of the centralised (potable) water system. This study includes both a historical and future (scenario) analysis of decentralised developments. Integrated morphological socio-technical scenarios are combined with quantitative water flows for a case study (the Province of Limburg, the Netherlands) and examined by a transdisciplinary group of experts. The study shows how SUWM measures which focus on climate adaptation and circularity can have a significant impact on existing centralised potable water systems. In turn, influencing the total water and peak demands and thus resulting in different utilisation rates. This can result in more system failures (e.g., longer residence time, bacterial growth, reduced self-cleaning capacity), significant changes in the centralised infrastructure (e.g., more wells), increasing water bills (e.g., inequalities), and the preservation of aquifers for future generation. Different scenarios either have regime-reproducing or regime-diversifying impacts. SUWM measures are studied in isolation and thus externalities are not fully considered. Therefore, when planning for decentralised SUWM solutions, a systems thinking approach is recommended, which takes into account externalities.
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