Special Issue "The Challenges of Water Management and Governance in Cities"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Urban Water Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2019).

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A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Cornelis Johannes (Kees) van Leeuwen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Professor of Water Management and Urban Development | Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development | Utrecht University | Heidelberglaan 2, 3584 CS Utrecht | P.O. Box 80.115, 3508 TC Utrecht, the Netherlands | Van Unnik Building Room 11.28 Principal Scientist at KWR Watercycle Research Institute, Nieuwegein, Groningenhaven 7 | P.O. Box 1072, 3430 BB Nieuwegein, the Netherlands
Interests: sustainability; water management; cities; City Blueprint; risk assessment of chemicals
Prof. Dr. Ir. Jan Hofman
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Professor of Water Science and Engineering, Director of Water Innovation and Research Centre, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Bath - Water Innovation and Research Centre, Wessex House 7.12, Bath BA2 7AY, United Kingdom
Interests: sustainable water management; origin, fate and abatement options for emerging contaminants like pharmaceutical compounds or nanoparticles in water; thermal energy recovery from water and wastewater; resource recovery from wastewater and water treatment residuals; upscaling of nanotechnology application for water treatment
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Peter Driessen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Tel. + 31 30 2535771/1625
Interests: climate adaptation; sustainable urban development; water management; environmental impact assessment; science-policy interactions; sustainability governance
Ir. Jos Frijns
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Team manager - Resilience Management & Governance | KWR Watercycle Research Institute | Groningenhaven 7, P.O. Box 1072, 3430 BB Nieuwegein, the Netherlands
Tel. +31 30 6069583
Interests: water governance; citizen participation; stakeholder collaboration; sustainable water management; water reuse; resilience; futures strategies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Global population growth is urban growth and, therefore, most of the water-related challenges and solutions reside in cities. Unless water management and water governance processes are significantly improved within a decade or so, cities are likely to face serious and prolonged water insecurity, urban floods and/or heat stress, that may result in social instability and, ultimately, in massive migration. Aging water infrastructure, one of the most expensive infrastructures in cities, are a relevant challenge in order to address Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: clean water and sanitation, SDG 11: sustainable cities and communities and SDG 13: climate action.

The choice of good governance arrangements has important consequences for economic performance, for the well-being of citizens and for the quality of life in urban areas. The better governance arrangements work in coordinating policies across jurisdictions and policy fields, the better the outcomes. Rapidly-changing global conditions will make future water governance more complex than ever before in human history, and expectations are that water governance and water management will change more during the next 20 years compared to the past 100 years.

In this Special Issue of Water, the focus will be on practical concepts and tools for water management and water governance, with a focus on cities.

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • water management
  • water governance
  • gaps and capacities
  • cities
  • integrated urban planning
  • resilient water services
  • heat islands
  • urban floods
  • climate adaptation
  • sustainable development goals

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
The Challenges of Water Management and Governance in Cities
Water 2019, 11(6), 1180; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11061180 - 05 Jun 2019
Abstract
Combined impacts of sea-level rise, river flooding, increased frequency and magnitude of extreme rainfall, heatwaves, water scarcity, water pollution, ageing or lacking infrastructures for water, wastewater and solid waste in rapidly urbanising regions in the world call for improved water management and governance [...] Read more.
Combined impacts of sea-level rise, river flooding, increased frequency and magnitude of extreme rainfall, heatwaves, water scarcity, water pollution, ageing or lacking infrastructures for water, wastewater and solid waste in rapidly urbanising regions in the world call for improved water management and governance capacity in cities to accelerate the transition to water-wise cities. The sixteen contributions to this Special Issue create further awareness and present solutions on integrated approaches, advanced water management practices and water governance strategies. It is concluded that cities require a long-term strategy and a multilevel water governance approach. Research has shown how important it is to involve the civil society and private parties early on in this process to create success. Collaboration among cities and regions by sharing best practices for rapid implementation are crucial to cope with nearly all Sustainable Development Goals. Full article
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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Centralized and Decentralized Water Reclamation with Resource Recovery Strategies in Leh Town, Ladakh, India, and Potential for Their Reduction in Context of the Water–Energy–Food Nexus
Water 2019, 11(5), 906; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11050906 - 29 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
With the constant increase of population and urbanization worldwide, stress on water, energy, and food resources is growing. Climate change constitutes a source of vulnerability, raising the importance of implementing actions to mitigate it. Within this, the water and wastewater sector represents an [...] Read more.
With the constant increase of population and urbanization worldwide, stress on water, energy, and food resources is growing. Climate change constitutes a source of vulnerability, raising the importance of implementing actions to mitigate it. Within this, the water and wastewater sector represents an important source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, during both the construction and operation phase. The scope of this study is to analyze the GHG emissions from the current and future water supply scheme, as well as to draw a comparison between possible water reclamation with resource recovery scenarios in the town Leh in India: a centralized scheme, a partly centralized combined with a decentralized scheme, and a household level approach. Precise values of emission factors, based on the IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, previous studies, and Ecoinvent database, have been adopted to quantify the different emissions. Potential sources of reduction of GHG emissions through sludge and biogas utilization have been identified and quantified to seize their ability to mitigate the carbon footprint of the water and wastewater sector. The results show that the future water supply scheme will lead to a significant increase of the GHG emissions during its operation. Further, it is shown that decentralizing wastewater management in Leh town has the least carbon footprint during both construction and operation phases. These results have implications for cities worldwide. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Understanding the Costs of Inaction–An Assessment of Pluvial Flood Damages in Two European Cities
Water 2019, 11(4), 801; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040801 - 17 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Today, over 50% of the global population lives near water. Due to population growth, ongoing economic development, and extreme weather events, urban areas are growing more susceptible to flood risks, and the costs of inaction of failing to manage flood risks are high. [...] Read more.
Today, over 50% of the global population lives near water. Due to population growth, ongoing economic development, and extreme weather events, urban areas are growing more susceptible to flood risks, and the costs of inaction of failing to manage flood risks are high. Research into the benefits of pluvial flood-risk management is needed to spread awareness and motivate investments in pluvial flood-risk reduction. So far, such research is lacking. This research therefore assesses pluvial flood damage from a single 60 mm/1-h rainfall event in the cities of Rotterdam and Leicester using 3Di flood modelling and the flood damage estimation tool (waterschadeschatter; WSS). The results demonstrate that potential pluvial flood damages exceed €10 million in each city. From this research, inhabitants and authorities of Leicester and Rotterdam can learn that preparing for upcoming pluvial floods can save millions of euros resulting from future damages. The application of these tools also makes clear that data availability is a highly relevant bottleneck to the pluvial flood damage assessment process. By addressing data shortages, flood damage estimates can be strengthened, which improves decision support and enhances the chance actions are taken in reducing pluvial flood risks. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Interdisciplinary Collaboration on Green Infrastructure for Urban Watershed Management: An Ohio Case Study
Water 2019, 11(4), 738; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040738 - 09 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Many older Midwestern cities of the United States are challenged by costly aging water infrastructure while working to revitalize urban areas. These cities developed much of their water infrastructure before the Clean Water Act became law and have struggled to mitigate contaminant loading [...] Read more.
Many older Midwestern cities of the United States are challenged by costly aging water infrastructure while working to revitalize urban areas. These cities developed much of their water infrastructure before the Clean Water Act became law and have struggled to mitigate contaminant loading to surface waters. An increasingly common approach to resolving these challenges is the integration of green infrastructure with gray infrastructure improvements to manage point and non-point source pollution. Stakeholder engagement and collaboration during green infrastructure planning can help address impairments and promote community involvement through the revitalization process. Mill Creek watershed in Cincinnati, OH, USA has seen improvement in watershed integrity indicators after being impaired for many decades by flashy hydrology, combined sewer overflows, and water quality degradation. A workshop was conducted to examine how integrated green and gray infrastructure has contributed to improvements in Mill Creek over the past several decades. This effort sought to examine internal and external factors that influence a multi-stakeholder watershed approach to planning, implementing, and evaluating green infrastructure techniques. Community investment and physical infrastructure, access to datasets, and skills and knowledge exchange were essential in improving use attainment in the Mill Creek. Strategic placement of green infrastructure has the potential to maximize water quality benefits and ecosystem services. However, green infrastructure deployment has been more opportunistic due to the diversity of stakeholder and decision maker interests. Future work should consider collaborative approaches to address scaling challenges and workforce development to maximize green infrastructure benefits. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Aligning Climate Governance with Urban Water Management: Insights from Transnational City Networks
Water 2019, 11(4), 701; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040701 - 04 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
A growing number of cities in different world regions are forming transnational networks in order to mitigate and adapt to climate change. In this study, we are interested in the nexus between climate change and urban water management. How do transnational city networks [...] Read more.
A growing number of cities in different world regions are forming transnational networks in order to mitigate and adapt to climate change. In this study, we are interested in the nexus between climate change and urban water management. How do transnational city networks for climate action perceive urban water management? What kind of activities do they adopt for improving urban water management? How effective are these in practice? This study maps 17 transnational city networks that primarily work on climate governance, assesses whether they formally embrace urban water management as a field of activity, and analyzes the extent to which they influence local climate action regarding water-related issues. Our descriptive analysis reveals that the great majority of transnational city networks has embraced goals related to urban water management, mostly framed from the perspective of adaptation to climate change. However, our in-depth analysis of two frontrunner cities in Germany shows that membership in ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) has only limited influence on the initiation and implementation of water-related policy measures. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Rainwater Harvesting for Drinking Water Production: A Sustainable and Cost-Effective Solution in The Netherlands?
Water 2019, 11(3), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030511 - 12 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
An increasing number of people want to reduce their environmental footprint by using harvested rainwater as a source for drinking water. Moreover, implementing rainwater harvesting (RWH) enables protection against damage caused by increasing precipitation frequency and intensity, which is predicted for Western Europe. [...] Read more.
An increasing number of people want to reduce their environmental footprint by using harvested rainwater as a source for drinking water. Moreover, implementing rainwater harvesting (RWH) enables protection against damage caused by increasing precipitation frequency and intensity, which is predicted for Western Europe. In this study, literature data on rainwater quality were reviewed, and based on Dutch climatological data the usable quantity of rainwater in the Netherlands was calculated. For two specific cases, (1) a densely populated city district and (2) a single house in a rural area, the total costs of ownership (TCO) for decentralized drinking water supply from harvested rainwater was calculated, and a life cycle assessment (LCA) was made. For the single house it was found that costs were very high (€60–€110/m3), and the environmental impact would not decrease. For the city district, costs would be comparable to the present costs of centralized drinking water production and supply, but the environmental benefit is negligible (≤1‰). Furthermore, it was found that the amount of rainwater that can be harvested in the city district only covers about 50% of the demand. It was concluded that the application of rainwater harvesting for drinking water production in the Netherlands is not economically feasible. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Actors in Water Governance: Barriers and Bridges for Coordination
Water 2019, 11(2), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020326 - 14 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Multiple actors across different institutional levels play a role in water governance. The coordination of these actors is important for effective water governance. However, the joining together of multiple actors can have several implications, such as a redistribution of power across actors, a [...] Read more.
Multiple actors across different institutional levels play a role in water governance. The coordination of these actors is important for effective water governance. However, the joining together of multiple actors can have several implications, such as a redistribution of power across actors, a change in democratic control and citizen influence as well as shifting accountability structures. These implications can involve different barriers and bridges that might impede or foster coordination. Through qualitative and quantitative methods, we assess the following barriers and bridges for coordination: (1) reputational power in terms of who is perceived as important for coordination in the water sector; (2) democratic legitimacy in terms of actors’ value of local control of water services; and (3) accountability in terms of the regional actors’ capacity to steer in the water sector. This article focuses on three cases in a Swiss region that has experienced water provision challenges due to its highly fragmented water supply structures. We find that reputational power serves as a bridge in our three cases: when the actors responsible for water supply regard potential coordination partners as important, then we observe coordination. In contrast, we do not find conclusive evidence to support the assumption that a fear of losing local control is a barrier for coordination. Instead, our results indicate that accountability, in the form of vertical steering by the regional actors, serves as a bridge for coordination, and that this could help mitigate some of the potentially negative effects of democratic legitimacy perceptions: through convening local actors or providing positive incentives to municipalities to work together, regional actors can foster coordination. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Stormwater Reservoir Sizing in Respect of Uncertainty
Water 2019, 11(2), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020321 - 14 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The sizing of the stormwater reservoir, as the design of its properties, usually requires simulations of a basin runoff for a long rainfall series using a hydrodynamic model. In the case of insufficient observations, the rainfall series can be reproduced using empirical approaches. [...] Read more.
The sizing of the stormwater reservoir, as the design of its properties, usually requires simulations of a basin runoff for a long rainfall series using a hydrodynamic model. In the case of insufficient observations, the rainfall series can be reproduced using empirical approaches. One of the crucial elements in the sizing of the stormwater reservoir is determination of duration time and intensity of rainfall (design rainfall event), for which the maximum reservoir capacity is being obtained. The outcome is, however, affected by significant uncertainty of runoff modeling. The aim of the study is to analyze the effect of the uncertainty of a rainfall-runoff model on calculated capacities of stormwater reservoirs, along with estimated duration times of the design rainfall. The characteristics of the rainfall events—intensity, duration, and frequency—were reproduced using an empirical approach of IDF (Intensity–Duration–Frequency). The basin response to the precipitation was modeled using the SWMM (Storm Water Management Model) and its uncertainty was estimated on the basis of the GLUE (Generalized Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation) method. The obtained probabilistic solution was compared with the deterministic one, neglecting the uncertainty. Duration times of the design rainfall determined in respect of the reservoir outflow using the probabilistic model were longer than those found with a deterministic approach. This has an effect on the desired capacities of the stormwater reservoir, which were overestimated when uncertainty was neglected. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Water Governance Processes Required to Transition towards Water Sensitive Urban Design—An Indicator Assessment Approach for the City of Cape Town
Water 2019, 11(2), 292; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020292 - 07 Feb 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
In the face of water related risks resulting from climate change and rapid urbanization, water resources in South African cities have increasingly come under pressure. Following the most recent drought period (2015–2018), local authorities such as the City of Cape Town are being [...] Read more.
In the face of water related risks resulting from climate change and rapid urbanization, water resources in South African cities have increasingly come under pressure. Following the most recent drought period (2015–2018), local authorities such as the City of Cape Town are being tasked with restructuring policy to include climate change adaptation strategies to adapt more adequately and proactively to these new challenges. This paper describes an evaluation of the water governance processes required to implement Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) in Cape Town—with a specific focus on the barriers to, and opportunities for, those processes related to wastewater treatment, flood risk and the pressing issue of water scarcity. The City Blueprint Approach (CBA) was selected as the indicator assessment approach for this task. The CBA is a set of diagnostic tools comprising the Trends and Pressures Framework, the City Blueprint Framework and the Governance Capacity Framework. This was applied to Cape Town based on in-depth interviews and publicly available information. The analysis revealed that smart monitoring, community knowledge and experimentation with alternative water management technologies are important when considering uncertainties and complexities in the governance of urban water challenges. We conclude that there is potential for Cape Town to transition to a water sensitive city through learning from this experimentation and by implementing WSUD strategies that address water scarcity following the shifts in governance caused by the 2015–2018 drought. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Sustainability of Wastewater Management Systems in a Multi-Scalar, Transdisciplinary Manner in Latin America
Water 2019, 11(2), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020249 - 31 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Wastewater management in Latin America faces great challenges to reach a sustainable state. Although enough infrastructure has been built to treat around 40% of wastewater, only between 15–20% is effectively treated, and abandoned or defective infrastructure is a common sight. Data about current [...] Read more.
Wastewater management in Latin America faces great challenges to reach a sustainable state. Although enough infrastructure has been built to treat around 40% of wastewater, only between 15–20% is effectively treated, and abandoned or defective infrastructure is a common sight. Data about current conditions at specific sites is quite fragmented, when existing. This leads to challenges in management, decision making and planning for sustainable options. We argue that a main obstacle is the lack of a regionally relevant sustainability assessment framework that allows for a holistic understanding of wastewater management as a nexus problem. We therefore developed a comprehensive framework to (1) understand current conditions (2) involve stakeholders and (3) point to pathways to improve wastewater management in the Americas. Building on literature review and stakeholder involvement, we constructed a multi-scalar extended dataset framework that is adaptable to different study sites using specific criteria. Sustainability was assessed through a “distance-to-target” approach. Social and economic variables were the lowest ranking in both cases, with technical variables generally performing better. Although some dimensions of sustainability are performing acceptably, others, such as social and economic, are general low to very low performing. This means, when looked at in an integrated manner, neither of the wastewater management systems analysed can be considered sustainable. Here we present the approach itself, the results of its application in two pilot sites in Latin America, and our recommendation to shift waste water management into sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Governance Strategies for Improving Flood Resilience in the Face of Climate Change
Water 2018, 10(11), 1595; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10111595 - 07 Nov 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Flooding is the most common of all natural disasters and accounts for large numbers of casualties and a high amount of economic damage worldwide. To be ‘flood resilient’, countries should have sufficient capacity to resist, the capacity to absorb and recover, and the [...] Read more.
Flooding is the most common of all natural disasters and accounts for large numbers of casualties and a high amount of economic damage worldwide. To be ‘flood resilient’, countries should have sufficient capacity to resist, the capacity to absorb and recover, and the capacity to transform and adapt. Based on international comparative research, we conclude that six key governance strategies will enhance ‘flood resilience’ and will secure the necessary capacities. These strategies pertain to: (i) the diversification of flood risk management approaches; (ii) the alignment of flood risk management approaches to overcome fragmentation; (iii) the involvement, cooperation, and alignment of both public and private actors in flood risk management; (iv) the presence of adequate formal rules that balance legal certainty and flexibility; (v) the assurance of sufficient financial and other types of resources; (vi) the adoption of normative principles that adequately deal with distributional effects. These governance strategies appear to be relevant across different physical and institutional contexts. The findings may also hold valuable lessons for the governance of climate adaptation more generally. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Conceptualization and Schematization of Mesoscale Sustainable Drainage Systems: A Full-Scale Study
Water 2018, 10(8), 1041; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10081041 - 06 Aug 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) can be considered the joint product of water engineering and urban planning and design since these systems must comply with hydraulic, hydrologic, and social-ecological functions. To enhance this joint collaboration, a conceptual model of mesoscale SuDS is introduced based [...] Read more.
Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) can be considered the joint product of water engineering and urban planning and design since these systems must comply with hydraulic, hydrologic, and social-ecological functions. To enhance this joint collaboration, a conceptual model of mesoscale SuDS is introduced based on the observed rainfall-runoff responses from two catchments with SuDS and a pipe-bound catchment. The model shows that in contrast to pipe systems, SuDS disaggregates the catchment into a group of discrete mini catchments that have no instant connection to the outlet. These mini catchments start to connect to each other (and perhaps to the outlet) as the rainfall depth increases. It is shown that the sequence of stormwater control measures (SCMs as individual components of SuDS) affects the system’s overall performance depending on the volumetric magnitude of the rainfall. The concept is useful in the design and implementation of mesoscale SuDS retrofits, which include several SCMs with different retention and detention capacities within a system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Storm Water Management and Flood Control in Sponge City Construction of Beijing
Water 2018, 10(8), 1040; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10081040 - 06 Aug 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
To solve the problems of increasing local flooding, water shortage, and water pollution caused by the traditional model of urban development, the Chinese government proposed a new model of urban development—the Sponge City. In Beijing, the capital of China, research on storm water [...] Read more.
To solve the problems of increasing local flooding, water shortage, and water pollution caused by the traditional model of urban development, the Chinese government proposed a new model of urban development—the Sponge City. In Beijing, the capital of China, research on storm water management in urban areas has been carried out since 1989 and has put forward the concept of urban storm water harvesting and flood control. The further research and demonstration application started in 2000. So far, a series of policies and technology standards on storm water management have been formulated, which promote the application of technologies on comprehensive urban storm water harvesting and flood control. A significant number of storm water harvesting and flood control projects have been built in Beijing, which are now playing important roles in runoff reduction, local flood control, non-point source pollution reduction, and storm water utilization. However, it does not solve the above problem completely. Storm water management and flood control needs to be further strengthened. The “Sponge City” is based on natural and ecological laws, which allows storm water to be managed with natural infiltration, natural retention and detention, and natural cleaning facilities. Through in-depth analysis of the connotation, characteristics, and construction path of “Sponge City”, this paper summarizes the status quo of urban rainwater flooding, flood control technology development and application, and Beijing policy and engineering to introduce the overall ideas and methods of Sponge City construction. All the above will provide a reference for cities with similar problems in the construction of sponge cities. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Governing Non-Potable Water-Reuse to Alleviate Water Stress: The Case of Sabadell, Spain
Water 2018, 10(6), 739; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10060739 - 06 Jun 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
The world will experience an estimated 40% freshwater supply shortage by 2030, converting water scarcity into one of the principal global challenges that modern society faces. Urban water reuse is recognized as a promising and necessary measure to alleviate the growing water stress [...] Read more.
The world will experience an estimated 40% freshwater supply shortage by 2030, converting water scarcity into one of the principal global challenges that modern society faces. Urban water reuse is recognized as a promising and necessary measure to alleviate the growing water stress in many regions. The transformation to widespread application of water-reuse systems requires major changes in the way water is governed, and countries such as Spain already find themselves involved in this process. Through the systematic assessment of the city of Sabadell (Spain), we aim to identify the main barriers, opportunities and transferable lessons that can enhance governance capacity to implement systems for non-potable reuse of treated wastewater in cities. It was found that continuous learning, the availability and quality of information, the level of knowledge, and strong agents of change are the main capacity-building priorities. On the other hand, awareness, multilevel network potential and implementing capacity are already well-established. It is concluded that in order to undertake a widespread application of water-reuse practices, criteria examining water quality according to its use need to be developed independently of the water’s origin. The development and implementation of such a legislative frame should be based on the experience of local water-reuse practices and continuous evaluation. Finally, the need for public engagement and adequate pricing mechanisms are emphasized. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Urban Water Management Sustainability of a Megacity: Case Study of Seoul, South Korea
Water 2018, 10(6), 682; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10060682 - 24 May 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Many cities are facing various water-related challenges caused by rapid urbanization and climate change. Moreover, a megacity may pose a greater risk due to its scale and complexity for coping with impending challenges. Infrastructure and governance also differ by the level of development [...] Read more.
Many cities are facing various water-related challenges caused by rapid urbanization and climate change. Moreover, a megacity may pose a greater risk due to its scale and complexity for coping with impending challenges. Infrastructure and governance also differ by the level of development of a city which indicates that the analysis of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and water governance are site-specific. We examined the status of IWRM of Seoul by using the City Blueprint® Approach which consists of three different frameworks: (1) Trends and Pressures Framework (TPF), (2) City Blueprint Framework (CBF) and (3) the water Governance Capacity Framework (GCF). The TPF summarizes the main social, environmental and financial pressures that may impede water management. The CBF assesses IWRM of the urban water cycle. Finally, the GCF identifies key barriers and opportunities to develop governance capacity. The results indicate that nutrient recovery from wastewater, stormwater separation, and operation cost recovery of water and sanitation services are priority areas for Seoul. Furthermore, the local sense of urgency, behavioral internalization, consumer willingness to pay, and financial continuation are identified as barriers limiting Seoul’s governance capacity. We also examined and compared the results with other mega-cities, to learn from their experiences and plans to cope with the challenges in large cities. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperPerspective
Water Governance in Cities: Current Trends and Future Challenges
Water 2019, 11(3), 500; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030500 - 10 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Adapting water governance to changing needs, while coping with the uncertainties caused by climate change and the consequences of urbanisation and demographic growth, is key for inclusive, safe and resilient cities. The urgency of the challenges calls for innovative practices to enhance water [...] Read more.
Adapting water governance to changing needs, while coping with the uncertainties caused by climate change and the consequences of urbanisation and demographic growth, is key for inclusive, safe and resilient cities. The urgency of the challenges calls for innovative practices to enhance water security and provide better services to citizens, as foreseen by the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6. The key question is: how to accomplish these objectives? While there is no doubt that technical solutions are available and play a fundamental role, they represent only part of the solution. Cities must ensure that the institutional frameworks in place are “fit to fix the pipes”, from accessible information to adequate capacity, from sufficient funding to transparency and integrity, and from meaningful stakeholder engagement to coherence across sectoral policies. Building mainly on recent studies on water governance carried out by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and specifically on urban water governance, this paper will discuss current trends and provide a set of tools for policy solutions based on OECD’s 3Ps framework: people, policies and places. It will conclude by highlighting the importance of improving monitoring and evaluation for better design and implementation of urban water governance. Full article
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Open AccessPerspective
UNESCO’s Contribution to Face Global Water Challenges
Water 2019, 11(2), 388; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020388 - 23 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 210, with roughly 83 million people being added every year. The upward trend in population size along with an improved [...] Read more.
The current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 210, with roughly 83 million people being added every year. The upward trend in population size along with an improved quality of life are expected to continue, and with them the demand for water. Available water for human consumption and development remains virtually the same. Additional to the different pressures of the demand side on the available resources (offer side), climate variability and change apply further pressures to the management of the resource. Additional to the increase in evaporation due to temperature rise, climate change is responsible for more frequent and intense water related extreme events, such as floods and droughts. Anthropogenic activities often result in the contamination of the few pristine water resources and exacerbate the effects of climate change. Furthermore, they are responsible for altering the state of the environment and minimizing the ecosystem services provided. Thus, the water security of countries is compromised posing harder challenges to poor countries to address it. This compromise is taking place in a complex context of scarce and shared resources. Across the world, 153 countries share rivers, lakes and aquifers, home to 40% of the world’s current population. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is the scientific arm of the United Nations and its International Hydrological Programme (IHP) is the main vehicle for work in water sciences at an intergovernmental level. IHP VIII, IHP’s medium term strategy, aims to assist UNESCO’s Member States (MS) in achieving water security by mobilizing international cooperation to improve knowledge and innovation, strengthening the science-policy interface, and facilitating education and capacity development in order to enhance water resource management and governance. Furthermore, the organization has established an Urban Water Management Programme (UWMP) aiming at promoting sustainable water resource management in urban areas. Full article
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