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Water in cities

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  • 1. Water in Cities Short filmAuthor, executive producer: Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa International Hydrological Programme Division of Water Sciences
  • 2. Water in citiesWater has become an increasingly crucial issue water sources are being tapped and groundwaterfacing many cities around the world today. Rapid resources are being exploited in an unsustainablepopulation growth, urbanization and economic way. In future, more cities will need to rely ondevelopment lead to growing pressure on water more distant water sources or inter-basin waterresources in urban areas. The demand for water transfers in order to cope with rising demandsis rising constantly. With water demand exceeding for water.water supplies, water shortage has become more Urban water problems are different in the developedprominent in many cities in both the developed and and developing parts of the world, but all citiesdeveloping world. Numerous cities, particularly in share the same goal of managing our precioussemi-arid and arid regions, have outgrown their water resources in a sustainable way.local water supplies. All close at hand surfaceUrban water management:present and future challengesWith future population growth likely to occur mainly is posing a serious threat to the sustainability ofin developing countries, cities in the developing water resources and their ecosystems.regions are expected to face greater challenges in In many cities, the management of urban waterproviding safe drinking water and sanitation to their systems is fragmented and inefficient, as a resultgrowing population. Lack of access to safe water and of poor urban water governance and weak insti-adequate sanitation jeopardizes the lives of the urban tutional, financial and human capacities. In somepoor. Although access to water and sanitation tends cities, urban water systems are poorly maintained,to be better in urban areas than in rural areas, a large and leakage in water distribution networks can beportion of urban dwellers without access to water as much as 40 per cent.and sanitation live in ever-expanding slums. Hence,cities need to put special emphasis on providing Climate change is adding a new challenge towater and sanitation services for the urban poor in urban water management. With climate changeslums and peri-urban informal settlements. This will and climate variability impacts, cities will increas-play a significant part in achieving the Millennium ingly experience difficulties in efficiently managingDevelopment Goal on water and sanitation. more scarce and less reliable water resources, as well as in coping with floods and droughts. WithReducing water pollution in urban areas is a key more frequent and intense extreme climate eventscomponent of urban water management. Water caused by climate change, cities need to becomepollution has become one of the most crucial more resilient to natural disasters such as floodsproblems in cities around the world, with its direct and droughts.impact on human health and on the sustainabilityof ecosystems. The demographic and land expan- In order to address these water problems in cities,sion of urban areas and the conglomerations of there is an urgent need to improve water resourcescities have had a negative impact on surface water management in urban areas and to promote strat-and groundwater resources. Severe environmental egies, approaches and scientific solutions thatpollution in urban areas, often caused mainly will lead towards more effective and sustainableby a lack of sanitation and wastewater facili- urban water management.ties and inappropriate solid waste management,
  • 3. Water in Cities Short Film Author, executive producer: Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa‘© copyrighted from the film’
  • 4. What UNESCO is doing to address urban waterchallengesUNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme safeguarding water quality from the source tois at the forefront of promoting science, knowl- the tap in order to reduce the health and envi-edge and capacity-building for the sustainable ronmental impacts of water pollution;management of freshwater resources. protecting and sustainably managing the urbanThe concept of integrated urban water management groundwater resources that provide the mainlies at the core of UNESCO’s work for addressing source of drinking water for many cities;urban water challenges. It is based on the prin- promoting the adaptability of urban water systemsciple of using the urban water cycle as a unifying to climate change, and improved flood resiliencyframework for effective water management in cities. and drought management;This approach is also instrumental in searchingfor more sustainable solutions because urban promoting good urban water governance andwater problems touch upon all elements of the addressing urban water conflicts;water cycle. protecting urban aquatic ecosystems and habi-UNESCO’s work in this field includes a number tats, which provide important services andof projects addressing various aspects of urban properties, and using these ecosystems as awater management: tool for flood protection, pollution control and improvement of the quality of life. an integrated approach for access to water By promoting scientific knowledge and developing and sanitation; solutions for sustainable urban water manage- shifting from water supply management to ment UNESCO’s aim is to help countries tackle water demand management, with the aims of the present and future water challenges faced limiting water demand, improving water use by cities. efficiency, and promoting wastewater reclama- tion and reuse; reducing water pollution in urban areas through prevention, control and restoration; ©UNESCO/Michel Ravassard
  • 5. The short film ‘Water in Cities’ aims to illustrate present and future challenges in urban water management, highlighting water problems facing cities around the world. The film is designed to promote sustainable and innovative approaches that UNESCO is pursuing to help countries address water problems in fast-growing cities, and to assist cities to develop strategies for sustainable urban water management. The Chinese version of the film was exhibited in the UN Pavilion at the World Exposition Shanghai 2010 ‘A Better City – A Better Life’.SC-2010/WS/30
  • 6. Water in Cities (short film)Author and executive producer: Sarantuyaa ZandaryaaAll rights reserved. © UNESCO 2010UNESCOInternational Hydrological ProgrammeDivision of Water SciencesNatural Sciences Sector1, rue Miollis75732 Paris Cedex 15FranceTel: +33 1 45 68 40 01Fax: +33 1 45 68 58 11ihp@unesco.orgUnited Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizationwww.unesco.orgSuggested citation:UNESCO 2010. Water in Cities (short film). Author and executive producer: Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa,International Hydrological Programme, UNESCO, Paris.