Urban resilience

Disasters, climate change, and rapid urbanization pose a serious risk to the provision of urban water services including safe drinking water, sanitation, and safe drainage. Urban growth increases the risk for disasters because it often limits drainage capacity, while at the same time it increases pressure on urban water systems, especially affecting the poor. Thus, humanity is faced with serious challenges to achieve sustainable urban water management in light of growing risks.

Climate change affects urban areas by increasing water scarcity and floods, salinization of groundwater and increasing needs for green spaces for flood mitigation, shade and cooling. These different impacts and their solutions are interrelated, for example urban flooding can be mitigated by increasing green areas that also increase coolness. The complexity of the urban water system requires that it is approached in an integrated way. However, the urban water system is made up of multiple water networks, or sectors, that are often considered without cross-reference to the other systems. For example, the natural system, water supply, storm water (drainage) and sewer systems. The natural systems often link up to water resources and ecosystems at a river basin level where water flows are affected by land use, building distribution, and infrastructure. 

Population increase in urban areas means increasing pressures on scarce resources. This means an increasing need for integrated approaches connecting the different urban water systems. 

Landscapes

The Lena Delta Reserve seen from a satellite
Landing Page

Deltas

Water defines and enables human development. Ecosystems and economies depend on water.  The impact of climate change will be most acutely expressed through water.  Deltas are particularly vulnerable to water-related climate risks.

Read more
Man in the sea in Bangladesh, istock photo, Credits: Mudassir Hossain
Landing Page

Coastal Areas

Human societies will need to adapt to sea level rise, which means flooding, increasing risk of storm surges, coastal erosion and the loss of low-lying coastal systems.

Read more
Shacks in a slum area along a small polluted canal. Manila, Philippines
Landing Page

City Slums

Inhabitants of city slums are at extreme risk to climate change. Slums grow at a rapid pace because of in-migration of people from disaster prone areas, and growing poverty in rural areas and more opportunities in urban areas.

Read more
A desert plain with three trees and amountain
Landing Page

Drylands

Drylands are defined by a scarcity of water, and cover more than 40% of the earth surface. Drylands are present in more than 100 countries and home to over 2 billion people.

Read more

Cross Cutting

Eifel, Elz valley, flood disaster, July 15th 2021. Europe is highly urbanised and has too few natural buffers that can infiltrate extreme amounts of heavy rainfall. Markus Volk. istock.
Landing Page

Nature based solutions

Nature based solutions work with and enhance nature to restore and protect ecosystems and to help society adapt to the impacts of climate change. Adaptation calls for the increased use of nature based solutions with multiple benefits which at the same time provides for livelihoods, ecosystem life support and community resilience.

Read more
A river basin in a mountanous region.
Landing Page

River Basins

Collaboration in a river basin is needed to share increasingly scarce resources, manage water related risks emerging from various land uses and prevent flooding by linking upstream and downstream activities. Upstream areas need to ensure spatial planning that is mitigating floods for downstream areas. 

Read more