Managing Water for Cities: Resources in the GWP ToolBox

The objective of World Water Day on 22 March 2011 is to focus international attention on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems. This year’s theme, Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge, aims to spotlight and encourage governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenges of urban water management.

Half of humanity now lives in cities and every second the urban population grows by two people. In Africa and Asia, the urban population will double between 2000 and 2030. 38% of the growth is represented by expanding slums, while city populations are increasing faster than city infrastructure can adapt.

Urbanization is very much about infrastructure. A rapidly growing population puts stress on for a city’s ability to provide water and sanitation. The key principles of IWRM are not only important to guide implementation of good water governance, but they are also applicable to water infrastructure.

A catchment perspective is a vital starting point for analyzing the relationship between water supply and sanitation and other aspects of water resources management. The benefits and costs of water infrastructure have social and environmental implications that are not limited to a single sector. In many areas with strong competition for limited resources – including catchments with large urban populations, rural areas with high population densities, and areas with high demand for irrigation and other non-domestic uses –water supplies can no longer be improved solely through reliance on the development of new sources and infrastructure.

The online GWP ToolBox promotes and shares approaches on how to manage water resources in an integrated way. A new tool in the ToolBox deals with the water infrastructure implementation and IWRM.

There are a number of case studies and references in the ToolBox that illustrate experiences of water and sanitation provision implemented in different parts of the world. The newest contribution comes from Central Asia and Southern CaucasusOther management tools critical to WSS in the context of IWRM are available in C3 Efficiency of Water Use, addressing the complex issues of management of demand and supply.

Background Papers

GWP Technical Committee Background Papers dealing with sound water supply and sanitation sector include:

All Technical Committee Background Papers can be found in various languages here.

More GWP resources on WSS

Photo by Li Axrup, GWP