17 principles to create water-wise cities

Friday, 14 October, 2016

To overcome the problems that are leading to pressure on water resources in urban areas, the International Water Association (IWA) has announced the Principles for Water-Wise Cities.

Launched this week at the World Water Congress and Exhibition, held in Brisbane, the IWA’s 17 principles have been developed to help city leaders ensure that everyone in their cities has access to safe water and sanitation; that their cities are resilient to floods, droughts and the challenges of growing water scarcity; and that water is integrated in city planning to provide increased livability, efficiencies and a sense of place for urban communities.

“Cities are rapidly expanding and water resources are under increasing pressure,” said Corinne Trommsdorff, program manager for the Cities of the Future Program at the IWA. “We need to find ways to do more with less. The principles will be used to bring people together for resilient city planning and to guide the urban water revolution needed in cities of the future.”

The 17 principles for water-wise cities encourage collaboration, underpinned by a shared vision, so that local governments, urban professionals and individuals can actively prepare and find solutions to urban water management challenges. They are grouped into four categories:

1. Regenerative water services: including replenishing water bodies and their ecosystems, reducing the amount of water and energy used, recovering energy, nutrients and other materials from water, and increased efficiencies by integrating water services with other services.

2. Water-sensitive urban design: including designing urban spaces to reduce flood risks, enhance livability with visible water, and modify and adapt urban materials to minimise environmental impact.

3. Basin-connected cities: including planning to secure water resources and mitigate drought, protect the quality of water resources and prepare for extreme events.

4. Water-wise communities: including empowering citizens, increasing professional awareness of water and enabling policymakers to take water-wise action.

The cities of Gothenburg, Kunshan, Lyon, Melbourne Metropolitan Area, Sydney, Shenzhen, Xi’an, Dakar, Amsterdam and Brisbane were the first cities to endorse the IWA principles at their launch.

To view and endorse the 17 principles, visit www.iwa-network.org/projects/water-wise-cities/.

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