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EIP conference 2013: City Blueprints lead on bottom-up approach to water sustainability

Brussels, 21 November 2013: An innovative and sustained European effort is needed to eradicate a multitude of threats to water supply in member states, although clearly participants of the 2013 European Innovation Partnership on Water (EIP Water) conference in Brussels had different ideas on how that would be achieved.

One approach, “City Blueprints”, one of nine initial multi-stakeholder Action Groups (AG’s) selected by the EIP Water, intents to share best practices between cities by organising a bottom-up response to overcome barriers in the water related governance systems. “City Blueprints” is a transparent assessment of the sustainability of water management in a city that engages citizens to quickly understand how it performs in comparison to other leading cities around the globe and has been developed at KWR Watercycle Research Institute in the Netherlands. “City blueprints” have identified the involvement of civil society as the vehicle to accelerate innovation in water governance and political continuity, catalysing the implementation of state-of-the-art sustainable water infrastructure and environmental performance. Richard Elelman, Head of Public Administrations at Fundació CTM, said: “So far (November 2013), around twenty five cities/regions have participated, and many others have expressed an interest in collaborating, an encouraging sign for the longevity of the project and especially with the recent inclusion of the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, illustrates that the initiative transverses even political boundaries.” Kees van Leeuwen, Principal scientist at KWR Watercycle Research Institute, said: “Urban areas of the world are expected to absorb all the population growth expected over the next four decades. By 2050, urban dwellers will likely account for 86 % of the population in the more developed regions and for 64 % of that in the less developed regions." "There are many challenges in cities. Competing demands for scarce water resources could potentially lead to an estimated 40% supply shortage by 2030 and the focus on cities follows directly from a broad analysis of developments related to climate change, water scarcity, human health, sanitation and urbanization." "For this reason, comments by the World Economic Forum have pointed to water supply being one of the top five global risks for both the impact and likelihood. Cities are concentrated centres of production, consumption and waste disposal that drive land change and a host of global environmental problems; highly dependent on other cities and hinterlands to supply materials (including water), energy, and to dispose waste." "The necessary technological changes and long-term carbon reduction depend on the decisions of citizens or companies, not of governments. So, cities are the problem holders, but are also expected to contribute to the solutions! ” ENDS




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