The IWA Principles for Water-Wise Cities assist leaders to develop and implement their vision for sustainable urban water, beyond equitable universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation. The Principles underlie resilient planning and design in cities. The ultimate goal of these Principles is to encourage collaborative action, underpinned by a shared vision, so that local governments, urban professionals, and individuals actively engage in addressing and finding solutions for managing all waters of the city, driven by three paradigm shifts:
1. RESOURCES ARE LIMITED: WE NEED TO DO MORE WITH LESS
With increasing numbers of people living in metropolitan areas, water, energy and materials need to be used carefully, reused and renewed.
2. CITY DENSIFICATION IS BOTH AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH AND A THREAT TO LIVEABILITY
By 2030, over 6 billion people are expected to live in cities. More populated, denser cities will be required to provide more efficient services. Water is essential for the well-being of citizens, their safety and social inclusion in cities.
3. AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE UNDERLIES THE PLANNING OF OUR CITIES
Historical development pathways are often not appropriate to plan future water systems. Climate change and population growth are uncertainties. Planning these systems with increased modularity and reduced dependencies enable a better reactivity to unforeseen trends and events.
The following Principles establish a framework for transitioning cities to address these paradigm shifts. Where existing and aging assets are in place, the Principles are to be applied at the pace of asset renewal, as dictated by wise asset management strategies. Where assets are to be built, applying the Principles opens opportunities for innovative systems which best address these paradigm shifts.