World Bank Report Reviews SDG Achievement in Water-Scarce Cities
story highlights

A World Bank report highlights water security as an integral part of achieving the SDGs, arguing that human development, livable cities, climate change, food security and energy security all hinge on access to water and sanitation services.

The report draws on experiences from 20 water-scarce cities around the world, in both developed and developing countries, and proposes a range of measures for improving urban water supply security.

5 April 2018: A World Bank report titled, ‘Water-Scarce Cities: Thriving in a Finite World,’ highlights water security as an integral part of achieving the SDGs. The report draws on experiences from 20 water-scarce cities around the world, in both developed and developing countries, and proposes a range of measures for improving urban water supply security.

The authors cite urban water management experiences from cities as diverse as Marrakech in Morocco, Amman in Jordan, Windhoek in Namibia, Perth in Australia, and Murcia in Spain. A range of charts and figures enables comparison of relevant factors, such as the various types of water resources available in those cities, the relative costs of different measures that contribute to water security, and drought thresholds in various locations. The publication argues that SDGs related to human development, livable cities, climate, food security, and energy security all link to SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation.

To shift towards ensuring water security, the authors propose five principles: shift the culture of abundant water to rationalized demand; hedge against risks through diversification, for example, through protecting the health of strategic aquifers; rely on solutions that are not vulnerable to climate change, such as desalination and wastewater reclamation; ring-fence water systems from external competition; and cope with uncertainty and variability through adaptive design and operations.

The report suggests that successful management for water security relies on more than technological approaches, and highlights the need for sustained communication campaigns that “demystify” cities’ decisions about water resource planning, providing transparency and increasing public trust. [World Bank Press Release] [Report Web Page] [Publication: Water-Scarce Cities: Thriving in a Finite World] [World Bank Water Global Practice Website]

related posts