Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Transition to Sustainable Urban Water Services of Tomorrow - A handbook for policy makers

Contributed by: IWW Water Centre

Policy makers are challenged with rising and emerging change pressures on traditional urban water management practices and infrastructures. Changing social, economic and environmental patterns will affect the urban water services of tomorrow - the backbone of our society.
Contemporary thinking about the behaviour of highly complex urban water systems has significant influence on the debate about the future of urban water systems. Despite of innovative integrated urban water management approaches and the availability of appropriate tools and technologies contributing to sustainable urban water services, the progress of implementation is slow and major barriers remain. Transition processes to sustainable urban management are adaptive measures beyond the daily operating decisions. Coping with future uncertainties and increasing challenges requires sustainable urban water governance practices facilitating the ability to change.

The main questions are: Where to be in 2050? How to facilitate change towards sustainable urban water services?

The Policy Guidance Material (PGM) of TRUST provides information and assistance for shaping the transition towards sustainable urban water services of tomorrow for policy makers and public decision makers, addressing the following issues:
- Desired urban water futures
- Effective institutional frameworks
- Strategic planning for sustainable urban water services of tomorrow
- Financing and cost recovery
- Adaptive urban water systems

Policy makers are typically in the position to influence specific development pathways by their decisions. What they need for their informed decision making is a broad overview on possible pathways for a sustainable development of urban water cycle services (UWCS), an access to multi-disciplinary material on technical, hydrological, socio-economic, legal, administrative issues, and a broad understanding of interdependencies between water infrastructure decisions and external drivers. Specific viewpoints are on overall visions, competent institutional frameworks, capacities and the financial impact of their decisions.

The Policy Guidance Material gives answers to those questions and provides access to relevant findings and results from the TRUST project (such as different self-assessment tools, metabolism tool, decision support system (DSS), collaborative decision theatre, city blueprint, roadmap guideline and many others), but also allows identifying contributions from outside TRUST by following the provided external links. In this context, there is no single answer to a given set of conditions. The aim is to lay out available alternatives being clearly but thoroughly characterised, in an easily understandable and useable form, explaining their main features, advantages, and disadvantages.

What additionally makes the Policy Guidance Material outstanding is the fact that it addresses topics which are commonly not accounted by existing water policies or strategic plans, e.g. a vision describing the desired state of the urban water future, tools to measure the current state of sustainability, principles of resilience, flexibility and adaptivity in terms of urban water systems and the five dimensions of UWCS sustainability regarding future pressures and trends about, among others, climate change, population growth and changing water demand.

The Policy Guidance Material is a self-explaining document comparable to an animated website. It will be available for free on the TRUST website under results & downloads (



    IWW Water Centre


Related information


Countries (6)

  • Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Norway
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top