Urban areas currently give the home to approximately 50% of the global population, projected to reach over 60% by 2050. In this period, water demand will increase globally by 55% and around 4 billion people will live in water-stressed areas. This means that fierce competition is unavoidable among different water users – particularly users in agriculture and energy sector, as well as urban dwellers. If current tendencies are not changed, water security will be increasingly jeopardized.
Due to rapid urbanization, water scarcity and poor water quality in heavily overcrowded cities, as well as the lack of extensive and sustainable urban water management systems are problems affecting not only the poorest but the developed countries of the world. Cities are facing significant challenges such as mitigating water risk and securing financially sustainable water and sanitation services to the urban population.
A concerted effort is required in putting water supply and sanitation policies in the wider context of institutional arrangements and water resources management. We must think carefully about how to manage urban water costs effectively and learn from the experience of others in addressing the demand and supply sides of the urban water management challenge. The Seminar, therefore, intends to bring together key stakeholders, facilitate the outlining of proper strategies conforming to national and regional circumstances, and put the theory of sustainable urban water management into practice.
Challenges of urban water management and the response of integrated urban water management to climate change
The integrated urban water management approach has emerged from the growing recognition that an integrated approach to water management at the urban level offers a relevant framework for decision-making and concrete action. Urban areas are appropriate as management units, as specific problems and needs faced by cities may transcend the physical and scientific boundary embodied by more traditional units of management of catchments and watersheds. The Seminar encompasses various aspects of water management, including environmental, economic, technical, political, as well as social impacts and implications.
As for the integrated urban water management, there is a high demand for optimal usage of municipal water (drinking and other domestic water, industrial water, fire water and irrigation water), to have integrated approach of water resources (stormwater, surface and groundwater) and for water recycling to decrease extreme weather events. Integrated urban water management means how these challenges can be turned into opportunities to develop new technologies, solutions, business and governance models for the water-smart society of the future, where water scarcity and pollution of ground and surface water are avoided, water, energy and resource loops are closed to a large extent to realize a circular economy, the water system is resilient against climate change events and water-dependent business thrives as a result of forward-looking research and innovation.