The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Resilient Cities, Robust Water Management: Emerging Solutions for Sustainable Cities

Making cities resilient in a time of rapid urbanization is difficult enough, but quickening climate change, how do we manage growth while also creating resilient cities? Urban areas are caught between the struggle to maintain existing services while also expanding basic services for new residents and shifting needs. Climate change exacerbates these issues. Climate impacts are both accelerating and evolving in their expression. Past climate is no longer an effective predictor of emerging conditions, especially for long-lived parts of the landscape such as infrastructure. As a result, increasing uncertainties about future climate and urban growth make the work of planners and decision makers far more challenging to build or upgrade new energy, water supply and treatment, and drought and flood structures, as well as negotiate resource management with other cities and farmers. Are we doomed to a state of ever-heightening crisis?

Beginning about 2009, several teams — the World Bank, Deltares, the Dutch Infrastructure and Environment Ministry, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst — began experimenting with a series of new approaches to deal with high-uncertainty issues such as rapid demographic change and climate change in which risk tolerance was low and quantitative frameworks were necessary. More recently, a global consortium funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and The Resilience Shift and led by Arup have been working to create an overarching framework that links high-level urban decision makers and technical and operational concerns. In most of these programs, water resources management plays a key role, given the volatility of the water cycle to climate impacts and the cross-sectoral nature of water resources and water threats.

In this webinar, John Matthews, PhD, of AGWA: The Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, will discuss these new approaches, the development of a set of next generation tools, and the global application and integration of these tools to urban sustainability.
Read More...