Languages: EN, KO, CH, SP
Water is the lifeline of the city. From pure survival and daily domestic consumption to urban agriculture and industrial production; from hygiene and health to cooling and refreshment; from urban nature and biodiversity to local energy generation; there is hardly any corner in the city which can maintain its functions without depending on a regular supply of good quality water. For local governments across the world, whether big or small, it has always been one of the core tasks to serve their citizens and the multitude of locally based private, commercial and other institutions with a continuous provision of water services. However, in spite of decades of scientific progress, technological development and growing expertise, there are still hundreds of municipalities struggling to meet the needs of their local users which is severely hampering social and economic development, in particular in the global south.
More recent trends add to existing challenges. Over-extraction and pollution of naturally existing resources, partly as consequences of increasingly unsustainable production and consumption patterns, and the exponential increase of water demand in rapidly growing cities put enormous pressure on cities’ water infrastructure and services. Last, but not least, the changing climate causes significant effects on the water cycle with at times devastating consequences for cities in precarious locations.
The participants in this sub-plenary represent on the one hand local governments from different regions in the world, on the other hand organizations and networks generating and providing access to water expertise at international level. In their discussion, they will share their perspectives on local water security for the years to come and some of the strategic options for local decision makers to ensure local water supplies and get prepared for the increasing risks of a disturbed water cycle in urban areas. The panelists will also exchange their views on the role of knowledge and innovation to contribute to informed and foresight decision-making for enhancing urban water security.
Some of key outcomes of the discussion will be summarized into a message to the participants of the 7th World Water Forum’s Local and Regional Authorities Conference that is taking place immediately after the ICLEI World Congress in Gyeongju City, Republic of Korea, from 13-14 April 2015.
Cathy Oke, Councilor, City of Melbourne, Australia; Member of the ICLEI Global Executive Committee