Cities: At the heart of growth

    Cityscape ©Ali Altamin

    Cityscape ©Ali Altamin

    Cities are faced with critical drivers: population growth, changing consumption patterns and uncertain changes in climate variability.

    In concert these drivers could lead to reduced water security, increased flood vulnerability, and more degraded and stressed natural systems. However, as the pace of urbanization increases cities will continue to be at the forefront of economic growth and will consequently draw ever growing levels of investment in infrastructure and services. 

    Now, and even more so in the future, cities will have to interact much more with the hydrological cycle to provide the water security essential for sustained economic prosperity. This will be achieved through the efficient use and reuse of the diversity of water resources available within the city; enhancement and protection of the health of urban waterways and wetlands; and mitigation against flood risk and damage. It is also expected that cities will create public spaces that harvest, clean and recycle water and reduce urban heat island effects. 

    Equally, cities provide a particular focus for existing work to engage mayors in the water debate.
    In cooperation with its partners, the World Water Council has been supporting local and regional authorities on their water challenges, particularly since the inauguration of the Istanbul Water Consensus in 2008.  This important work offers opportunity to strengthen local and regional authorities’ political contribution to the World Water Fora.

    Strategic actions

    • Work with local and regional authorities and other partners to identify effective measures to promote universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation
    • Undertake, with key partners, targeted analysis to identify the financial barriers and economic opportunities of enhanced urban water security
    • Undertake, with key partners, targeted analysis to place integrated urban water management at the heart of sustainable urban development and planning