Sustainable cities of the future are challenged to reduce their consumption of precious freshwater and the amount of wastewater they produce by reusing water and converting today’s unused water sources into resources. NEW WATER WAYS aims to move beyond today’s conventional urban water management, particularly stormwater management, by assessing the social, economic and environmental implications of sustainable urban water management.
Stormwater, the precipitation that runs off – mostly unused – from impermeable surfaces, entails two contrasting aspects in the urban water cycle.
In conventional urban water management it increases the volumes of wastewater to be treated, and causes overflows of combined sewer systems i.e. allowing untreated wastewater to enter the environment and potentially leading to damaging urban flooding.
On the other hand, there has been a shift in mindset in recent decades and stormwater is increasingly regarded as an unused freshwater resource, which has the potential to reduce our drinking water demand and – integrated in urban greenery – to increase urban liveability.
Transition to sustainable urban water management
New Water Ways will help cities become frontrunners in the transition to sustainable urban water management – moving from drained cities to green, liveable, climate-adapted and water-sensitive cities.
The consortium behind the New Water Ways project is a diverse group from research, business and public administration. Wageningen Environmental Research leads the work on solutions evaluation and portfolio development (WP2), bringing to the project a strong expertise in adaptation economics, innovative solutions and business opportunities in the area of water-smart cities, and provides a linkage to the Dutch innovations in the area of urban water management.