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World Water Day 2011: Water for Cities – Responding to the Urban Challenge

22.03.2011

The focus of the World Water Day 2011 lays on the impact of urbanisation, industrialisation and insecurity caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems. The World Water Day in 2011 has the objective to encourage governments, organisations, communities and individuals to engage and to address the challenges of urban water management. The main event will be held in Cape Town.

With the growing of the human population on earth, there is a growing need for access to water and sanitation. At the present time half of the human population lives in cities and it is expected to reach 69 percent by the end of 2050. It is still a great challenge that one fourth of the city residents live without access to improved sanitation facilities, not even to mention being connected to suited wastewater treatment facilities. The growing water demand is turning water scarcity and water pollution into an increasing constraint to the urban water management.

The IPCC has stated that there is abundant evidence that fresh-water resources are vulnerable and have the potential to be strongly impacted by climate change, with wide-ranging consequences on human societies and ecosystems. To respond to the future challenges of water demand in Europe, the European Commission is developing a Blueprint to safeguard Europe’s Water Resources, to be introduced in 2012. This Blueprint will analyse the current situation and evolutions, in order to evaluate potential new instruments to ensure a sustainable use of good quality water in the long term.

The paths to the success can be many, but for effective implementation of complex public policies and regulations, strong institutions and professional capacity are essential. So are the interfaces and interactions between water management and many other fields of activities and actions. In particular, water aspects must be considered at every stage of urban planning.

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