Water for Urban Areas: Challenges and Perspectives

Water for Urban Areas: Challenges and Perspectives

Water for Urban Areas: Challenges and Perspectives

Water for Urban Areas: Challenges and Perspectives

Synopsis

For the first time in history, half of the world's population is living in cities. By the year 2025, it is estimated that more than two-thirds will be urban dwellers. While the fastest growth of cities is taking place in the developing world, urbanization is a global phenomenon, closely related to environmental issues. The rapid growth of urban centers will place tremendous stress on the environment and pose formidable problems of social and institutional change, infrastructure development, and pollution control. Water will be one of the key resources for sustainable urban development. It is needed for virtually every human endeavor--for household use, agriculture, industry, leisure--and water also has an important ecosystem function. Provision of sufficient water and preventing pollution however, are formidable tasks. It is estimated that about 380 million urban residents worldwide lack adequate sanitation and at least 170 million still do not have access to a nearby source of safe drinking water. Making clean water available in the next forty or so years will require extending service to 3.7 billion more urban residents. In this book, leading experts from four continents offer unique insights into varied issues of urban water management. In case studies, the authors seek solutions and identify strategies for sustainable management of water resources for burgeoning mega-cities. They consider both technical issues, such as wastewater reuse, and management issues, including financial mechanisms for improved water sector management.

Excerpt

The focus of the Sixth Global Environmental Forum, which was convened by the United Nations University (UNU) in Tokyo, Japan, on 25 June 1997, was on “Water for Urban Areas in the 21st Century.” the sixth Forum, like the preceding five, was organized with the support of a leading Japanese construction company, Obayashi Corporation.

The topic for the Forum was selected because water and wastewater management for the urban areas of the developing world are likely to become increasingly important and complex tasks during the first half of the twenty-first century. When the issues of increasing water scarcities and accelerating water pollution in and around the urban centres of the developing world are superimposed on the continuing trend of rapid urbanization, the magnitude and the extent of the problems associated with the issue of water and wastewater management for the urban areas during the twenty-first century are likely to increase significantly compared with what they are at present.

The problems facing the urban areas of the developing world can be realized from the following selected facts:

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