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Potential Transformative Changes in Water Provision Systems: Impact of Decentralised Water Systems on Centralised Water Supply Regime

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Waterleiding Maatschappij Limburg (WML), Limburglaan 25, 6229 GA Maastricht, The Netherlands
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International Centre for Integrated Assessment and Sustainable Development (ICIS), Maastricht University, Kapoenstraat 2, 6211 KR Maastricht, The Netherlands
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KWR Watercycle Research Institute, Groningenhaven 7, 3433 PE Nieuwegein, The Netherlands
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Coopernicus Institute of Sustainable Development Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 2, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(8), 1709; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081709
Received: 15 July 2019 / Revised: 9 August 2019 / Accepted: 13 August 2019 / Published: 16 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Urban Water Management)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: decentralised water systems; sustainable urban water management; rainwater harvesting; centralised water systems; hybrid water systems; scenarios; foresight; transformative processes decentralised water systems; sustainable urban water management; rainwater harvesting; centralised water systems; hybrid water systems; scenarios; foresight; transformative processes
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van Duuren, D.; van Alphen, H.-J.; Koop, S.H.A.; de Bruin, E. Potential Transformative Changes in Water Provision Systems: Impact of Decentralised Water Systems on Centralised Water Supply Regime. Water 2019, 11, 1709.

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