New partnership to link water priorities with cities

Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40

C40 Cities and the International Water Association (IWA) are joining efforts to connect water professionals and city officials to better support, promote and enable progressive water-related solutions.

The Memorandum of Understanding will link IWA’s 17 Principles for Water-Wise Cities’ to improve water management and work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals with C40s global network of cities. It will address the mitigation potential of urban water management by looking at water efficiency, energy efficiency, nutrients capture and energy recovery as opportunities to drive down emissions from the urban water management sector.

“IWA has been promoting the Principles for Water-Wise Cities over the past 12 months, with a number of cities and water professionals endorsing them,” Tom Williams, Programmes Director, IWA, told The Source. “We want to bring together this respective momentum around urban water and connect the problem owners with the solution providers.”

Williams added that more and more water professionals, and therefore IWA, are looking towards new partnerships, individuals and organisations which are not conventional water partners.

Figures released by C40 and IWA show that seven percent of global energy is used to supply water, with water losses as high as 70 percent due to ageing infrastructure and extreme events disruptions, and 80 percent of all wastewater is released untreated.

Sustainable water and wastewater management are central to cities securing a low-carbon, resilient future. Reducing water loss, reusing wastewater and replenishing water bodies are three examples of how cities can improve water management, contribute to reducing their GHG emissions, and adapt to climate change impacts.

“We see that water pattern disruption is often the first sign of serious climate impacts and 70 percent of our member cities tell us that they are already seeing the significant and negative impacts of climate change,” said Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40. “Sixty-four percent of our member cities face significant risk from surface and flash floods.”

Ricardo Cepeda-Márquez, Head of Solid Waste Initiative, C40, told The Source that C40 and IWA aim to launch two new networks on urban water management and wastewater treatment and a technical assistance programme building on C40 political leadership and decision-makers engagement and IWA’s technical leadership.

“We believe that the Water-Wise Principles are a great framework,” he said. “Each city will have different powers, priorities and opportunities to implement them, and C40 and IWA intend to support their local priorities to facilitate faster and larger-scale implementation in collaboration with other cities participating in the networks.”