Fresh and clean water is an essential but finite resource and needs to be carefully allocated and used.
The fact is that clean drinking water is irreplaceable necessity for human existence. However, the amount available is limited. The only renewable water source is rain water, and the threat of pollution to our global surface and ground waters, and the threat of aquifer depletion are ever increasing. Currently one in five people live without access to drinking water. The United Nations predicts that by 2025 35% of the world’s population is going to experience water shortages, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water-stressed conditions.
Moreover, according to a survey based on global urbanization trends carried out by United National Environment Programme (UNEP), we can see that global infrastructure development and reconstruction needs during the next 25 years is 41 trillion USD (1 trillion is 1012) and water sector covers the 54% of it!
Fresh and clean water is an essential but finite resource and needs to be carefully allocated and used. Most water networks are designed for a lifetime of more than 50 years.
The threat of ageing infrastructure, extreme weather conditions caused by climate change, depletion of natural resources and miscalculated investments in inaccurately planned systems and unfit materials, are pushing cities towards new strategic choices. Therefore, a new process for decision-making needs to be developed, combining the expected performances, the acceptable risks, the affordable cost, sustainable asset management and a life-cycle approach.
Sustainable asset management of water infrastructures, such as sewer and water supply systems, is of major importance for cities’ finances, as well as for water infrastructure performances and reliability, surface and groundwater quality and human and environmental health. Organizational tools need to be used effectively to ensure high quality and sustainability through the whole asset life cycle. Investment not only in new water infrastructure but also in the maintenance of the existing facilities is unavoidable. Not only in the developing countries, but also in some developed countries in Europe and Asia, there is an urgent need for qualified personnel in the water sector. Therefore, attention should be directed towards the capacity building of skilled water experts as well.