Rapid urbanization in the Global South exacerbates urban water management challenges such as urban flooding and water pollution, rendering many areas water-insecure. Our reliance on grey infrastructures to combat these water management challenges is not sustainable in the long run, due to which a better alternative must be sought. Nature-based Solution (NBS) promote ecosystem services and enhance climate resiliency along with flood control and improvement of water quality by utilizing natural elements including green spaces and water bodies within the urban environment. In the past few decades, NBS have been adapted for urban drainage in Global North and evolved by means of various terms based on geographic location, practices and applications. Some of these well-known terms include Low Impact Development (LIDs), Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS), Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) and Best Management Practices (BMPs). The transition towards a resilient and sustainable environment has been made possible through the application of NBS. Recently, countries in the Global South such as Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand are trying to alter urban storm water management strategies through conversion of grey infrastructure to green infrastructure by employing various NBS techniques. The findings of this study show how NBS has influenced the Global South’s urban water management.
With interest in advancing inclusive urban landscapes and guided by principles of social and cultural sustainability, this essay speculates as to localized water infrastructures as “ablutionary urbanisms,” important forms of contemporary design expression in a context of rapid growth, widening inequalities, climate change and lack of resilience. It derives inspiration from vernacular precedents in advocating for an integrated, decentralized approach to addressing current urban water challenges. It explores the contemporary relevance of the sabil, a prominent civic feature of Islamic cities intended for the charitable dispensation of water. More specifically, this essay considers the contemporary relevance and potency of the sabil-kuttab, a hybrid building type unique to the city of Cairo in which a school (kuttab) sits atop a sabil. Such a type offers helpful guidance in devising principles and precepts relevant to contemporary infrastructural design in that: (1) it offers encouragement to advocate for distributed urban water systems as civically prominent elements of cities, particularly as these systems combine with other important community-focused programmatic features; and (2) given a reimagining of urban water systems as critical forms of cultural production, it offers encouragement for interdisciplinary teams to commit to the task of infrastructure planning as a promising locus of integrative design.
When water utilities establish water loss control programs, they traditionally focus on apparent loss rather than real loss when considering economic feasibility in the water sector. There is an urgent need for new management approaches that can address complex relationships and ensure the sustainability of natural resources among different sectors. This study suggests a novel approach for water utilities to manage water losses from the water-energy (WE) Nexus perspective. The Nexus model uses system dynamics to simulate twelve scenarios with the differing status of water loss and energy intensities. This analysis identifies real loss as one of the main causes of resource waste and an essential factor from the Nexus perspective. It also demonstrates that the energy intensity of each process in the urban water system has a significant impact on resource use and transfer. The consumption and movement of resources can be quantified in each process involved in the urban water system to distinguish central and vulnerable processes. This study suggests that the Nexus approach can strongly contribute to quantifying the use and movement of resources between water and energy sectors and the strategic formulation of sustainable and systematic water loss management strategies from the Nexus perspective.
Peri-urban interfaces tend to ensure water supply relying on their surrounding’ resources, generating water disputes when asking for collaboration. The urban-rural matrix of the Marina Baja county in southern Spain is characterized by inland irrigation and coastal tourism development, being the most water-intensive activities in Benidorm. This contribution addresses the following research question: Can a better and systematic understanding of stakeholders’ behavior and interactions increase water resilience in urban-rural interfaces? Data were collected from semi-structured interviews and questionnaires to 19 key stakeholders representing government officials, water managers, and the agricultural, tourism, and environmental sectors. Data were analyzed following the SAA and using MaxQDA® Analytics Pro 2020. A triple-loop analysis on water governance has been developed and applied to synthesize stakeholders’ behavior when addressing urban water resilience to face climate change impacts: relevance and representativeness (to be), recognition and assessment (to do), and collaboration (to share). Results highlighted how Benidorm’s urban water resilience is conditioned by four main learnings from stakeholders’ perception and interaction: (1) ‘feeling represented’ is related to stakeholders’ capacity to negotiate decisions, (2) lack of political will and Benidorm’s leading role increase stakeholders’ feelings of underrepresentation, motivating power imbalance, (3) stakeholders’ actions are less valued than stakeholders’ roles and functions, and (4) agreements are benefited by predisposition (willingness), but also by the compatibility of discourses (affinity) and the technical-management facilities (viability).
Optimizing the design and operation of an Urban Water System (UWS) faces significant challenges over its lifespan to account for the uncertainties of important stressors that arise from population growth rates, climate change factors, or shifting demand patterns. The analysis of a UWS’s performance across interdependent subsystems benefits from a multi-model approach where different designs are tested against a variety of metrics and in different times scales for each subsystem. In this work, we present a stress-testing framework for UWSs that assesses the system’s resilience, i.e., the degree to which a UWS continues to perform under progressively increasing disturbance (deviation from normal operating conditions). The framework is underpinned by a modeling chain that covers the entire water cycle, in a source-to-tap manner, coupling a water resources management model, a hydraulic water distribution model, and a water demand generation model. An additional stochastic simulation module enables the representation and modeling of uncertainty throughout the water cycle. We demonstrate the framework by “stress-testing” a synthetic UWS case study with an ensemble of scenarios whose parameters are stochastically changing within the UWS simulation timeframe and quantify the uncertainty in the estimation of the system’s resilience.