Groundwater’s Role in Urban Water Supply

IWA Climate Smart Utilities; IWA Specialist Group on Groundwater Management Groundwater Management

Target Audience

water utility managers and operators; regulators and policy-makers; water security consultants


Climate change is widely predicted to intensify risks to water security and place urban utilities under increasing pressure to meet demand. Improved management of water storage will be critical for water supply security, yet few cities have implemented conjunctive and adaptive groundwater management at the practical operational level. As demonstrated in recent urban water supply crises in Cape Town and Chennai, traditional urban water supply systems are not resilient to drought while groundwater abstraction from a growing number of unregulated private wells further compromises urban water supply security. If groundwater systems are to perform their potentially critical role in climate change adaptation, urban water utilities must participate proactively in the protection and sustainable management of groundwater resources.

This webinar will demonstrate how sustainable groundwater use can be an effective climate change adaptation strategy for urban water utilities, using case study examples of urban water supply from various country contexts (United Kingdom, Germany, Kenya and Brazil). Participants will learn about best practices for groundwater resource management in the context of climate change, alongside effective public policy guidance for safeguarding against over-abstraction and water quality management. The webinar discussion will encourage sharing of experiences by utility practitioners and lessons learned in sustainably using groundwater for water supply which builds climate resilience.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:
• Understand and be aware of utility best practices in utilising groundwater for drinking water supply;
• Understand key elements for developing climate-resilient water resource management plans;
• Understand risks to groundwater quality and utility interventions in groundwater capture zones;
• Draw upon available resources to support utilities in adapting to climate change.


International Water Association


  • Stephen Foster Chair, IWA Groundwater Management Specialist Group; Past-President, International Association of Hydrogeologists, United Kingdom
  • Michael Eichholz Policy Advisor, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Germany
  • Ricardo Hirata Director, CEPAS USP Groundwater Research Center, University of São Paulo, Brazil
  • Julia Gathu Secretary, IWA Groundwater Management Specialist Group; Finance and Operations Manager, Drilling for Life, Kenya