Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Bi-annual CityNet press-release - November 2003 issue

Why "CityNet"?
- Water is the most important food item
- Water services (drinking water supply, sanitation and public hygiene, flood protection) are essential for any civilisation
- 80 % of European population live in urban areas, and urbanisation continues everywhere
- Urban water systems represent 40 % of replacement value of all municipal infrastructure assets
- Available funds are not sufficient: urban water systems deteriorate faster than they are rehabilitated
- 20 % of EU-funded infrastructure investments are for urban water systems

Why is there a need for research in this field?
In the past, urban water systems were designed and operated as separate parts: groundwater resources management, drinking water treatment and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, and water quality management in rivers and lakes. The result was decently operating sub-systems, which often have severe negative impacts on other subsystems. Examples include leaking water supply systems that strain freshwater resources, leaking sewers that pollute groundwater, large impervious urban areas that overload sewer systems, etc.

Without an integrated management of the urban water system, i.e. all its sub-systems, urban water management can neither be cost-efficient in socio-economic terms nor sustainable in the long run.

Integrated urban water management can only work if the interactions between its subsystems are understood. CityNet aims to provide this understanding by pooling many of Europe¡¦s most prominent urban water researchers and large number of end-users (cities, water utilities) in a major research effort: The CityNet project cluster.

This network of excellence and expertise combines the necessary critical mass of research excellence capable of contributing to the discussions and orientations at European Union level, including governmental and administrative bodies.

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