A new operational approach for understanding water-related interactions to achieve water sustainability in growing cities

Susana Torres López*, Maria de los Angeles Barrionuevo, Beatriz Rodríguez-Labajos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

About 56 percent of the world’s population currently lives in cities. Anthropogenic activities have both directly and indirectly modified their environment. Therefore, management actions at the urban level determine whether or not cities are heading toward sustainability. Consequently, water management is in need of a clear insight of the social and ecological water-related interactions. Thus, a new operational approach is proposed for a better understanding of the interactions between the water cycle, cities and the society. In our approach, eleven key issues and their interactions emerge from an analysis of 371 documents published between 2012 and 2018. The interactions between different key issues were examined through four main foci of analysis: water resources, urban throughput, water equity, and water governance and financing. Those main foci help to comprehend water as a holistic element intertwined in urban areas. In addition, our approach provides six challenges to guide the stakeholders in decision-making processes: how to recognize, integrate, and/or restore water-related ecosystem services, how to maintain and improve the supporting green and blue spaces, how to guarantee the quality and quantity of water resources and the water supplied and used, how to ensure public and social health and well-being of the citizens, how to prevent and manage water-related conflicts, and how to make informed and equitable decisions on water management at urban level?

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment, development and sustainability
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted in press - 2021

Keywords

  • Cities
  • Urban sustainability
  • Water management
  • Water resources

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