Urban Water Management

Two-thirds of the global population will be living in urban areas by 2050. Therefore, the water-related challenges over urban areas will be pivotal for future urban sustainability. This topic aims to understand the present and future challenges and transformative pathways of urban water security.

  • Water Sensitive Cities / Blue-Green Infrastructure
  • Circular Design-built Strategies for Climate-friendly and Citizen-driven Urban Water and Food Systems
  • Urban Water Security and Governance
  • Sustainable Urban Water Management

Related sessions

Hosted by: Angela Million, Grit Bürgow and Anja Steglich (TU Berlin)

The subject of the session is the organizational and design-built integration of technical module sets for the combined use of water treatment and reuse in urban farming; whether at ground  level, in vertical structures or on the roof-tops of the city.

The focus is on combined water and farming systems that are easy to implement and operate, and are therefore particularly suitable for collective and sharing usage. Ideally, they are also not place-fixed and can be used flexibly by the citizens in different locations.

Central questions for the session are therefore: How can service water, rainwater and urban fertilizers become useable in a cooperative and productive way? How can blue-green infrastructures become part of a climate-friendly urban development driven by citizen? How, how much and in what quality can edible green, biodiversity and a pleasant urban climate be reproduced by mobile and rather low-tech design-built strategies? Contributions are sought that deal with the design and technical feasibility, from operation and maintenance to the mapping of combined water and farming systems and their ecosystem services in the urban context of the global South or North.


Hosted by: Phurba Lhendup & Asmita Poudel (AIT.RRC.AP)

Climate change coupled with poorly planned water management pose significant threats for water quality and water related disaster in the urban areas. This has potential consequences for human health, livelihoods, and assets, especially for the urban poor, informal settlements, and other vulnerable groups. Over the past twenty years, there has been a sustained rise and frequency in the number of climate-related disasters such as floods and droughts. A large part of disaster risk is directly or indirectly linked to water. It is estimated that the global average annual loss from disasters will increase from an annual average of US$ 260 billion in 2015 to US$ 414 billion by 2030 (Word into Action: Implementation Guide for Addressing Water- Related Disasters and Transboundary Cooperation: Integrating Disaster Risk Management with Water Management and Climate Change Adaptation, is part of the Words into Action. UNISDR,
2018). This puts at risk economic growth, poverty reduction, peace, and more generally, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Water-related disasters account for almost 90% of the 1,000 most disastrous events that have taken place since 1990 (UNISDR, 2017). Climate change is a key driver that exacerbates water-related risks and slow-onset disasters. The impacts of severe hydro-meteorological events,
including water-related disasters, result in multiple casualties and significant damage to devastating stroke. The poor and vulnerable, particularly women and girls, and vulnerable populations in regions where risks may exacerbate, fragility, conflict or forced displacement and affect peace and security, suffer most. Economic and environmental losses associated with water-related hazards are on the rise globally. Countries, communities and individuals are called upon to step up their investments in resilience and address underlying drivers of disaster risk; including climate change and unsustainable management of land and water resources.

It is envisaged that this session will contribute to sharing information, best practices, tools and approaches used to develop strategies towards water-secure urban settlements from disaster risks.

Hosted by: Bernd Gutterer (BORDA) and  Thammarat Koottatep (AIT) 

The achievement of SDG6 is strongly interlinked with the localization of other SDGs and these connections can generate both synergies and trade-offs. While this occurs in all settings, it is especially relevant in cities, which are dense and growing hubs for innovation and economic activities. By 2030, 60% of the global population is projected to live in urban areas and while this global trend of urbanization opens various possibilities, it also presents significant challenge in the context of sustainability. Already today, many cities are experiencing multi-scaled water burdens simultaneously and struggle to ensure water security.

The objective of this session is to investigate the character of interlinkages between SDG6 and other SDGs in the urban context and to present case studies and innovative methods and tools that address these synergies and trade-offs. Central questions for this session are: How does the localization of SDG6 affect the localization of other SDGs in the urban context (and vice versa)? How can innovative tools and methods encourage synergies between SDGs in the urban context? What is the potential of decentralized approaches, participative planning and nature-based solutions to address SDG interlinkages in the urban context?

After the presentations, we invite participants and speakers to engage in an interactive simulation model to solve an urban development challenge that includes interlinkages between SDG6 and other SDGs.

Hosted by: Thammarat Koottatep (AIT), Frank Fladerer and Hendra Gupta (BORDA)

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as a single entity, would rank as the seventh-largest economy in the world. The region comprises some of the largest and the fastest-growing cities of the world. The booming cities of Southeast Asia account for more than 65 per cent of the region’s GDP today, and more than 90 million people are expected to move to urban areas by 2030. Creating cities with a high quality of life will demand some $7 trillion in investment in infrastructure, housing, and commercial space.

The whole developing process increases the demand for resources, consumptions and eventually locate pressures to resource security as well as disposal of waste. Nature’s capacity to regenerate resources that human needs is currently overwhelmed by the continuously increasing demand. Technology application and approaches to treat wastewater and solid waste are crucial to support nature’s regeneration process. Taking urban area as a starting point in dealing with water security and climate change offers enormous potential for its concentration of population. 

Local and national governments increase investment in sanitation infrastructure development, while development banks offer the opportunity to scale up investment and access to sanitation infrastructures supporting the governments’ initiation. Manufacturers of water and wastewater treatment technology play important roles in securing water and dealing with climate change as well as ensuring that the investments in the sanitation sector yield the expected impact. Standards for water and sanitation products are a necessity to push mutual market access as well as the realization of technical interoperability and compatibility of products, enhancing trade in goods and services. Application of standards ensures that only tested and quality technology products are offered in the market.

Asian Institute of Technology Thailand in collaboration with Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association organise this session to present the sanitation sector’s contribution to water security and climate change within an urban context. The session focuses on the contribution of standardization on decentralized wastewater treatment technology to achieve SDG 6 on ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’ and 11 on ‘Sustainable Cities’. The session brings forward the idea of a common standard or a mutual recognition of testing prefabricated residential wastewater treatment products to the ASEAN community and highlights urban decision-makers’ specific and direct intervention to safeguard urban waters.