Integrated Urban Water Management – lessons and recommendations from around the world

Alvar Closas, a DPhil candidate at the School of Geography and the Environment, is lead author of a World Bank publication on Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM). The report reviews a number of IUWM initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Central Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

IUWM is a response to complex urban water challenges, including rapid population growth, inadequate connections to sewage systems, floods and the lack of proper drainage systems, and intensifying competition for water between sectors. It aims to develop flexible and efficient urban water systems by linking together planning, management and stakeholder participation across sectors and institutions.

The report summarises lessons from IUWM initiatives and pilot studies funded by the World Bank’s Water Partnership Program. It provides a valuable set of recommendations and guidelines for operationalising IUWM approaches.

Experiences from around the world show that there are both significant opportunities and challenges to implementing IUWM. Flexible and adaptive institutional frameworks are needed to achieve IUWM, and problems will be encountered where existing cities are locked into rigid institutional frameworks, traditional technologies and non-integrated urban plans.

Newly-built or planned areas, or even rapidly expanding cities, offer potential for adopting IUWM principles. The report highlights alternative solutions that can complement traditional planning and technological approaches, such as innovative technologies planned around new urban clusters, decentralised infrastructure, and diversification of water sources.

Read the full report

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