Water is indispensable for Earth resilience and sustainable development. The capacity of social-ecological systems to deal with shocks, adapting to changing conditions and transforming in situations of crisis are fundamentally dependent on the functions of water to e.g., regulate the Earth’s climate, support biomass production, and supply water resources for human societies. However, massive, inter-connected, human interference involving climate forcing, water withdrawal, dam constructions, and land-use change have significantly disturbed these water functions and induced regime shifts in social-ecological systems. Water resilience is about having a reliable water supply that can adapt and respond to change. The goal of the Water Resilience is to ensure that we have a sustainable and resilient water system, both now and for the future. Water resilience can be defined as the role of water in safeguarding and sustaining a particular desired state of a social-ecological system, ranging from sustaining the state of ecosystems and biomes, to the stability of regional weather and climate systems, and the ability of the hydrological cycle to maintain stable water supply for societies and ultimately the state of the biosphere and the Earth system. Sani Water’s new blog series titled “Water Resiliency Series” will cover various elements of the water resiliency program starting from –1) basics/fundamentals of water resiliency and 2) importance of water resiliency post Covid-19. Sani Water has been at the forefront of providing their customers with the latest research topics in the drinking water industry that are applicable on a regular basis. With “Water Resiliency Series”, Sani Water aims to educate and inform their customers about the importance and significance of water resiliency especially in the current period where climate change and rising global scarcity of water is more prevalent than ever.
BASICS OF WATER RESILIENCY
Water interruptions can have devastating effects on a community, from the loss of economic revenue to the loss of lives. There are numerous causes for water service interruptions including: aging infrastructure, power outages, extreme weather events, cyberattacks, contamination incidents, vandalism and fires. Understanding the potential impacts can help water utilities and communities be more prepared for an emergency. The goal of the Water Resilience is to ensure that we have a sustainable and resilient water system, both now and for the future. A well-established Water Resilience Program can help with the following:
- learn with our community to conserve our water together.
- take care of our environment to make sure our system is sustainable, both now and for future generations.
- look at different water sources and ways to use water presently and in future.
- provide opportunities for our community to participate in future decisions about water.
- make sure our plans can adapt to future uncertainties, such as population growth, a more variable climate and technological change.
APPROACH AND STRATEGIES TO ACHIEVE WATER RESILIENCY
The City Water Resilience Approach (CWRA) is a new and innovative approach to urban water management. It is a methodology that emerges as a new model of urban water management which will help cities to collaboratively build resilience actions to local water challenges through improved water governance. Through step-by-step guidance combined with a set of tools and resources, CWRA enables cities to make better urban water planning and investment decisions. It defines five essential steps (Figure 1) that will help in the transition pathway from understanding urban water systems, identifying and engaging with key stakeholders:
- Step 1- to conduct a baseline assessment of the city’s current water resilience capacity through multi-stakeholder consultation.
- Step 2 and 3 – to collaboratively define, and prioritize water resilience action plans.
- Stepp 4 – implementing those actions.
- Step 5 – monitoring and evaluating results to reassess the priorities and inform future programs and planning.
- Falkenmark, M., Wang-Erlandsson, L., & Rockström, J. (2019). Understanding of water resilience in the Anthropocene. Journal of Hydrology X, 2, 100009.