Water and Sewage
Green Blue
Buildings & land use
Introduction Important issues Indicators + benchmarks Cross sector links References


"Water is a basic human need and a key component of development - it is a fundamental resource for food production as well as for enhancing social well-being and providing for economic growth. It is also the lifeblood of the environment. Already today, it is a scarce resource in large parts of the world." (G8 Initiative on Conflict and Development)".

picture of water droplet
Water sector deals with relations between water and the different human activities in urban area. It concerns the part of the water cycle affected by urbanisation or which affects city operation: water infiltration into ground and watertable operation, surface waters runoffs and flows into natural (streams, rivers) or artificial (canals, pipes) reaches. It includes at the same time Waste Water, Storm Water and Drinking Water.

Traditionally the sector has:
- provided water supply for the community,
- provided safe transport of waste water and storm water,
- treated the wastewater to a hygienic and environmental acceptable standard,
- provided preservation of aquatic ecosystems.

Provision of safe drinking water, flood protection, drainage and sanitation rank highly among the needs of societies. By now, most of cities of the developed world rely on "all by networks". These systems are now proving not to be effective or efficient in the developed world. Further more, they are very expensive. Nevertheless, holistic approaches, based on a sustainable urban management could offer a way out. This will imply to find new ways of dealing with water in the cities. Even if essential, the required scientific and technological changes will be inefficient without more flexible institutional arrangements and increased water awareness among all stakeholder groups.

For more detailed information:
- "Sustainable management of water in cities", B Chocat
- "Out-of-sight-out-of-mind?" B Chocat et al