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

Circular Design-Built Strategies for Climate-Friendly and Citizen-Driven Urban Water and Food Systems

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.

Addressing Water-Related Disasters at the Local Level: Assessment and Strategy Development Tools and Approaches

Hosted by: Phurba Lhendup (AIT.RRC.AP)

The frequency and number of water-related disasters including floods and drought has been observed to increase over the past two decades. These account for almost 90% of the 1,000 most disastrous events since 1990, with climate change driving and exacerbating risks and slow-onset disasters. Global annual losses from disasters are estimated to increase by over 60% from 2015 to 2030 to an average of USD 414 billion. Noting the risks posed by disaster to economic development and the overall achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, this session aims to provide information on existing assessment and strategy development tools and approaches helping local governments and communities improve risk management in the water sector. With a focus on the water dimensions of resilience-building in communities, points of discussion include the Ten Essentials for Making Cities Resilient to climate and disaster risks, integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into urban policy and planning processes, and the role of strategic partnerships in supporting this process. Presenters will be invited to note key challenges and opportunities faced by countries in Asia and the Pacific to mainstream concepts of resilience into local planning and policy development processes. They will also share insights on leveraging increased political commitment and social demand for disaster and climate resilient development pathways. The session will also point to pathways to address existing capacity gaps.

SDG6 in the Urban Context: Assessing, Analyzing and Addressing Synergies and Trade-offs Between SDG6 and Other SDGs Through Innovative Tools and Methods

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.

The Roles of Standards in Securing Urban Waters and its Interventions

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.