You are here: Home Knowledge Base Environment Reducing the Water and Waste Footprints of Megacities
Symposium 2011

Reducing the Water and Waste Footprints of Megacities

The Challenge

The United Nations estimates that the number of megacities with a population of more than 10 million will triple from 20 in 2003 to 61 in 2015. It is estimated that more than nine tenths of urban growth will occur in developing nations, with four fifths of urban growth occurring in Asia and Africa.

Mega-urban societies are constantly challenged by complex problems, leading to the emergence of new and multifaceted social, economic and political organizational forms. Even without the anticipated growth, cities are facing problems with the provision of essential services, such as accessible and affordable water supply and waste management, leading to risks of negative health and environmental outcomes. But while the water and waste footprints of cities are enormous, they also offer potential for providing resources through recycling.

How can the water footprint of cities be reduced through efficient water use, capture and use of urban run-off and the safe reuse of water in agriculture? What are the opportunities to recover scarce resources (for example, phosphorus) and reuse waste water?

Deficient service provision in developing and emerging countries has led to the development of vibrant informal economies around water provision and waste recycling. How can service structures be changed without negatively affecting people who are dependent on these markets for their livelihoods? Can informal providers be integrated into public service delivery? How can the governability of the informal sector be increased?

Financial constraints make emulation of Western models difficult and infrastructural solutions such as water-borne sanitation systems are questioned for their environmental and economic viability. What are feasible options for financing improvements in water and waste management? Can public-private partnerships contribute to a solution of waste and water problems? What is the role of international organizations in this context? Is linking emissions trading to financing improvements in water and waste management a promising approach?

    Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Treat waste and sewage as a resource, and increase recycling and reuse. Take account of engineering, economic and social viewpoints to implement a range of potential options to make better ...

    Treat waste and sewage as a resource, and increase recycling and reuse. Take account of engineering, economic and social viewpoints to implement a range of potential options to make better use of wate ...

    Treat waste and sewage as a resource, and increase recycling and reuse. Take account of engineering, economic and social viewpoints to implement a range of potential options to make better use of water and solid waste.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Water should be charged at its actual cost, reflecting both its nature as a scarce resource and the cost for infrastructure. Avoid subsidies, which encourage overuse.

    Water should be charged at its actual cost, reflecting both its nature as a scarce resource and the cost for infrastructure. Avoid subsidies, which encourage overuse.

    Water should be charged at its actual cost, reflecting both its nature as a scarce resource and the cost for infrastructure. Avoid subsidies, which encourage overuse.

    Polity, Business
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Involve all stakeholders in tailor-make solutions to local circumstances to finance infrastructure, to improve institutional effectiveness or to include informal urban settlements.

    Involve all stakeholders in tailor-make solutions to local circumstances to finance infrastructure, to improve institutional effectiveness or to include informal urban settlements.

    Involve all stakeholders in tailor-make solutions to local circumstances to finance infrastructure, to improve institutional effectiveness or to include informal urban settlements.

    Polity, Business
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Policy-makers need to implement water markets and existing economic and technological solutions for water and waste problems.

    Policy-makers need to implement water markets and existing economic and technological solutions for water and waste problems.

    Policy-makers need to implement water markets and existing economic and technological solutions for water and waste problems.

    Polity
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Raise public awareness about waste and water footprints.

    Raise public awareness about waste and water footprints.

    Raise public awareness about waste and water footprints.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Proposals

    Proposal
    Symposium 2011

    For Water, the problem is more often too little than too much

    Where to begin 1st, water and waste are different sorts of urban services in fairly dramatic respects. Water is most critically a basic service for the populations of megacities that, rather than bein ...

    Where to begin 1st, water and waste are different sorts of urban services in fairly dramatic respects. Water is most critically a basic service for the populations of megacities that, rather than being wasted or in danger of misuse, is normally in severely short supply, a problem mostly worsening as cities grow faster than their abilities to provide basic services for even minimal health and economic well being. Indeed these shortages stifle the abilities of individual families and firms to survive. While conservation is often a way of killing two birds with one stone, via improved efficiency and better

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2011

    Reducing the Water and Waste Footprints of Megacities

    Solution strategies to reduce the waste and water footprints of megacities: It is important to apply tailor-made solutions that take local characteristics, such as a large informal sector into account ...

    Solution strategies to reduce the waste and water footprints of megacities: It is important to apply tailor-made solutions that take local characteristics, such as a large informal sector into account. Issues like health and environment which are closely related to waste and water footprints and should be linked both at an institutional level for improved planning and at the actual implementation level. A public sector reform is one of the most important strategies for sustaining water and waste coverage and service. These reforms should also consider the need to extend waste and water services to informal urban settlements. It

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2011

    WWF - Recommendations for future urban planning with regard to water sustainability

    Dear Panelists,I'm looking very much forward to our panel next wednesday. Please allow me as an Executive Officer of WWF to add the following recommendations of WWF for future urban planning with rega ...

    Dear Panelists,I'm looking very much forward to our panel next wednesday. Please allow me as an Executive Officer of WWF to add the following recommendations of WWF for future urban planning with regard to water sustainability:- Cities must protect and restore ecosystems that are important water sources for surface waters and aquifers. The adoption of a multi-sectoral approach to water and wastewater management at the national level is a matter of urgency.- Successful and sustainable wastewater management that supports peri-urban agriculture is crucial for reducing water consumption.- In order to better understand their vulnerabilities, prepare for climate change impacts, and

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2011

    Why treat sewage as waste?

    In most developing countries partially treated and untreated sewage is simply put back into rivers and water bodies. This causes significant pollution, eutrophication, algal blooms, anoxia and consequ ...

    In most developing countries partially treated and untreated sewage is simply put back into rivers and water bodies. This causes significant pollution, eutrophication, algal blooms, anoxia and consequent death of aquatic ecosystems, not to mention the health risks for those using the water for drinking and domestic purposes downstream. Many peri-urban farmers recognize that urban sewage discharges are a reliable source of water and nutrients for vegetable production. As a consequence almost 1 billion people depend on vegetables grown in this manner and about 200 million farmers make a living from this activity. However, health risks to farmers and consumers

    Polity, Business

    Background Paper

    Background Paper
    Symposium 2011

    Reducing the Water and Waste Footprints of Megacities

    Humanity is faced with manifold changes in the global environment that have an impact on the capacity of the earth system to sustain life. These effects are summarised with the term “global change ...

    Humanity is faced with manifold changes in the global environment that have an impact on the capacity of the earth system to sustain life. These effects are summarised with the term “global change” and include drivers such as population growth, climate change and urbanisation. Urbanisation is one of the main drivers of global change and comprises socioeconomic transformation processes as well as linkages between cities and the environment.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Implemen- tations

    Implementation
    Symposium 2011

    BioCycling GmbH

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Implementation
    Symposium 2011

    Building Walls with Waste

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society