A Journey to Water Wise Cities

The IWA’s Cities of the Future Programme (CoF) is gearing up for an exciting year ahead. This October, IWA will be hosting the World Water Congress and Exhibition 2016 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, where CoF will host a City Leaders Forum from October 11-12 for city leaders to develop and reinforce their vision for sustainable urban water management as inspired by the IWA Principles for Water Wise Cities. This Forum will provide a unique opportunity to bring together cities from across the globe to network with each other and water professionals, utility leaders and elected officials to tackle increasingly complex urban water challenges. The Cities Pavilion, powered by ARUP, will be an area where the Principles will be officially launched and endorsed by city leaders, which will take place through the new online hub for leading professionals shaping our water future, IWA Connect.

The Principles are structured along four levels of action — each enabled by the next level — and five building blocks through which the urban stakeholders can deliver sustainable urban water. The building blocks begin with defining a vision for the city, followed by governance, knowledge and capacity, planning tools, and implementation. The four levels of action are regenerative water services for all, water sensitive urban design, basin connected cities, and water wise communities, empowering cities on a path to urban water resilience. The ultimate goal of the 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 on urban water management challenges.

Throughout all of these events, CoF is working with cities across the globe to draft City Water Stories through the lens of the Principles, which will be featured on the IWA website and serve to build momentum for the World Water Congress and Exhibition in Brisbane later this year. These stories will also be featured at the City Leaders Forum to inspire other cities on their journey to becoming water wise cities. What we have learned over the years is that, storytelling not only creates a bond with the reader, but also leaves a lasting impression, one which we are confident will inspire our network of water and urban professionals. The City Water Stories will outline the city’s vision, the main challenges they face, the actors collaborating on solutions, and how they are moving forward to achieve urban water resilience. This is on-going work and will continue beyond the Brisbane Congress, serving as motivation for city leaders and urban professionals across the globe to come together on our path to water wise cities. We are now calling out to you to share your experiences with us by writing your very own City Water Story. Should you wish to contribute to this endeavour (OR send in a City Water Story), please contact Ms. Lisa Andrews, IWA Intern for Cities of the Future.

The power of the International Water Association (IWA)’s and the CoF Programme’s networks provide a unique opportunity to co-create solutions and join efforts to shape our water future. Together, we can transform our cities’ ability to be environmentally sustainable, resilient, liveable, socially inclusive, water secure, safe, and productive.

Stay tuned for what’s next on the agenda for CoF:

  • UN-Habitat III Conference in Quito-Ecuador, where IWA applied to host a side event for a pledge to “Collaborate For Water Wise Cities” and to promote the Principles for Water Wise Cities through the New Urban Agenda
  • Embrace the Water in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2017, where CoF will gather urban planners and water professionals from around the globe in order to share experiences and projects on the opportunities and threats of water in modern, sustainable and innovative cities.

Join us on our journey to water wise cities. Follow @IWAHQ on Twitter and use #waterwisecities to contribute to the discussions!