Sustainable water management has been the talk of all urban and rural water management from the 20th and 21st centuries. It means that we need to understand and address this issue and all the related dilemmas faced by urban sustainable water managers to know the gravity of the situation. According to recent studies, it is observed that the number of people experiencing water shortages in urban areas is likely to increase from 150 million to a staggering 993 million by 2050, and that of seasonal water shortages will increase from 1 billion to 3.1 billion. Astounding, isn’t it?
As the years have been passing by, we have seen a lot of change in the climate. This climate change has resulted in water bodies being flooded and stormed, affecting the internal water management of the cities and towns. So while addressing this issue we first need to understand the root cause of the same.
What is sustainable water management?
The Brundtland Report defines sustainable water management as fulfilling the need of the present generation without compromising the future generations’ needs, including environmental, economic, and ecosystem service delivery. These are together defined as the triple bottom line of sustainable development. Sustainable water management must contribute to society’s ecological, environmental and hydrological needs without compromising the integrity of any of these at any cost.
Sustainable water management in Developing urban areas:
The water management goals in developing urban areas differ from those in developed urban areas. And in this section, we are going to address both.
In developing urban areas, reliable, equitable, and easily accessible water is of prime focus. As the urbanization in these developing areas is primarily unplanned and informal, it is difficult to monitor and project the demand and consumption needs of water. Thus this is the prime challenge faced in developing urban areas. Monitoring the four indicators, the technical, financial, institutional, and social/environmental, is of great help in understanding the demand and supply, and maintenance of water supply in these developing regions.
Sustainable water management in Developed urban areas:
In developed urban areas, the challenge of sustainable water management reserves to the sustainable practices like least environmental degradation while planning for the water management in these areas. Apart from that, the most negligible economic and social impact while addressing the sustainable water management in these areas should be considered. In these areas, too, the indicators method used in the developing regions is a must to understand the trajectory in which the planning and development of water resources and supply are considered. The indicators mainly here are:
- Health and hygiene.
- Non-toxic environment.
- The robust functionality of the systems.
- Leverage used financial and natural resources.
Also, apart from this, the proper management comes down to the awareness of the people around water management, sustainable use of this scarce resource, and a sense to use water as responsibly as possible. In this way, we will be able to meet the present water needs while keeping in view the needs of the future generations too.