The ability to engineer water for irrigation was the foundation of civilization. The safe supply of drinking water and the disposal of foul water are essential for urban settlement. Sustainable water management means minimizing our impact on the healthy functioning of the water cycle. Although the total amount of water on the planet does not change, the way we use and manage water has far-reaching effects. So far the impact of climate change has been most visible through flooding and drought. It is clear that we need to make our places more resilient against the worst effects of climate change.

However, we should not forget that water is a valuable design resource too, improving financial value and visual amenity. Integrated design can add value to our places at the same time as we address climate change. The benefits of sustainable water management include reducing the risk of flooding, supporting cooler microclimates, reducing carbon emissions, providing opportunities for recreation and lowering environmental and economic costs. Local authorities can improve sustainable water management by establishing water catchment-based strategies, managing demand for potable water, providing and promoting rainwater harvesting for gardens and public spaces and preserving wetlands and habitats.

Priorities for water

  • Manage surface water and flood risk
    Surface water management is becoming more challenging with a changing climate.
  • Encourage sustainable water use
    Water use is often unsustainable with high environmental and economic costs.
  • Protect watercourses
    Taking water from rivers can harm wildlife and has aesthetic costs.

Eco-friendly and sustainable environment strategies regarding water management are made to be applied worldwide, but some areas come as a priority. This includes areas affected by severe drought or flooding, areas at the primary risk due to sea levels rising, areas struggling with erosion and sedimentation or saltwater intrusion as the result of human interfering with natural water cycling and many more. Another huge and challenging tasks engages various technologies providing ocean water cleaning and removing various waste that endangers ecosystems of seas and oceans due to urban activity. Managing water utilization will impose management of land utilization, as well as careful redistribution and preserving of ecosystems depending on water areas.