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Water security resilience against climate change

TARU Leading Edge
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Key Messages: The urban population growth, inter-sectoral competition over water resources and climate change are expected roll out concurrently, amplifying water scarcity, energy and treatment costs and health issues in urban areas. Improving efficiency and reducing climate change related risks would be possible through integrated management of water, sewage, solid wastes and storm water management across household to city scales. Lack of recognition of local resources in urban water management precludes possibility of improving resilience of urban water systems against energy and resource perturbations. Rainwater and sewage should be seen as resources rather than a problem in urban systems. All local resources should be carefully managed to build resilience against climate change as well as energy challenges. The data & information on urban water sector is weak, which limits possibility of improving management. Metering is a challenge in intermittent supply systems and cost managing the metered distribution systems is often higher than the revenues with high subsidy context. Enabling environment for resilience building would require developing & improving access to information on future scenarios, engagement and capacity building of multiple stakeholders across scales as well as new policies. nMulti-scale water budgeting for each city should be first step in urban water management. It should include all local resources, imported water and waste water that can be potentially recycled. Spatially explicit database of resources, demand and supply, infrastructure and service levels for each city and its catchment area is necessary and this database should be annually updated for better management. There are several proven soft paths for improving efficiency of water use through reducing leakage losses, demand focussed end use as well as conjunctive management of local resources (e.g. rainwater, ground water) along with centralised supply. Current planning, legislation and management mechanisms need to be transformed towards integrated management of water through collaborative management by multiple stakeholders across scales to achieve efficiency and desired health outcomes. Policy space should be provided to enable such management process. Decentralised water management should be emphasised by empowering and devolving the responsibilities to formal and informal institutions, especially in urban peripheries. Nurturing, Information access and capacity building and monitoring support would be necessary to empower these institutions.

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