Water Peace at Home Water Peace in the World

Innovative Approaches & New Paradigms

New paradigms in urban water management for conservation and sustainability

Andrea G. Capodaglioa,*, Paolo Ghilardia and Joanna Boguniewicz-Zablockab
aDepartment of Civil Engineering & Architecture, University of Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy
bDepartment of Thermal & Industrial Engineering, Opole University of Technology, Opole, Poland
*Corresponding author. E-mail: capo@unipv.it
In order to achieve a sustainable degree of water resources usage, new paradigms in urbanized basins planning must be adopted. Worldwide urbanized areas total population has overcome in 2010, its rural counterpart. While urbanization can be a powerful driver of sustainable development, as the higher population density enables governments to more easily deliver essential infrastructure and services in urban areas at relatively low cost per capita, these benefits do not materialize automatically and inevitably. Water bodies are usually severely hit and impaired by poorly planned urbanization. Old water resources planning paradigms must be abandoned andnewones,whichinclude theconnection of ‘green cities’ andtheir infrastructurewith new modesofdrainage and landscape planning and improved consideration of receiving waters, ought to be adopted. These must not only be environmentally and ecologically sound, but also functionally and aesthetically attractive to the public. New eco-cities shall no longer rely on excessive water volumes withdrawn from often distant surface and groundwater sources, with a once-only use of the resource, and large water losses due to leaks and evapotranspiration. Long-distance transfer of wastewater and high energy usage and emissions for its treatment should be avoided by distributed and decentralized integrated water/wastewater management. Effluent-domination shall no longer be a characteristic of urbanized river basins. The paper examines some of the paradigms that have been proposed for improving integrated water resources management in urban basins and illustrates some recent examples whether already implemented or still at the proposal stage.
Key words: urban water planning, water resources, urban watershed protection, sewerage, conservation, water reuse and recovery
Worldwideurbanizedareastotalpopulationhasovercome,in2010,itsruralcounterpart(WHO2009); itisexpectedthat,by2030,urbandwellerswillconstitute60–70%oftheworld’stotalpopulation.Many cities in the world (in the USA as well as China and elsewhere) are subject to droughts and water scarcity of severe proportions; however, not all of these are located in naturally arid areas: Beijing, for example, has reached a 3.6 billion cubic meters water consumption (BWA 2013), far more than the 2.1billion cubic meterslocallyavailable (Gangsheng &Jun 2005).Thisis notsurprising, in thegeneral considerationthatChinahasabout20%oftheworld’spopulationbutjust7%oftheworld’sfreshwater resources. The lack of available freshwater water will in many case not only hamper development of a city, but can in the long run result in true ‘human disaster’ conditions. In the past, Beijing had an abundant supply of water from the five rivers that flow through the city. Yongding River, one of the main tributaries in the Hai River system and best known as the largest river to flow through Beijing Municipality, has now almost dried up, a clear example of hydrological
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