Water and Cities

Ensuring Sustainable Futures

image of Water and Cities

This report focuses on the urban water management challenges facing cities across OECD countries, and explores both national and local policy responses with respect to water-risk exposure, the state of urban infrastructures and dynamics, and institutional and governance architectures. The analyses focus on four mutually dependent dimensions – finance, innovation, urban-rural co-operation and governance – and proposes a solutions-oriented typology based on urban characteristics. The report underlines that sustainable urban water management will depend on collaboration across different tiers of government working together with local initiatives and stakeholders.

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OECD cities usually benefit from high levels of protection against water risks and most city dwellers have access to reliable water services. At the same time, OECD cities face significant challenges to protect inhabitants from risks of floods, droughts or deteriorating water quality resulting mainly from urban growth, competition among water users, urban and agricultural pollution and climate change. They also face particular challenges due to ageing infrastructures and the need to adapt existing assets: most OECD cities need to transition from an era of exploiting existing infrastructures to one of building new assets and inserting such assets in existing environments.

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