How Do We Want to Live Tomorrow? New Report on Urban Water Management

  • 2017/08/10     Dresden, Germany

    Image: helovi/istockphoto; Design: Claudia Matthias/UNU-FLORES

    Reporting by Camille Le Ho, Intern, Communications & Advocacy Unit

    The sustainable use of water resources in urban areas is essential in order to ensure a liveable environment for future generations. This becomes even more urgent in the context of increasing urban growth. By the year 2050, 65% of the population will be living in cities, that is 2.5 billion more people than today. This considerable increase brings with it an increase in demand on water resources. It represents a challenge, but it can also be a chance. Addressing this challenge by introducing policies for sustainable watershed management would also lead to improved quality of life in urban areas.

    Young scientists, including Ana Andreu Mendez, in a panel discussion during the workshop (Image: ZWU/Jörg Strackbein)

    Young scientists, including Ana Andreu
    Mendez, in a panel discussion during the
    (Image: ZWU/Jörg Strackbein)

    This important issue is the topic of a recently released report entitled “How Do We Want to Live Tomorrow? Perspectives on Water Management in Urban Regions”. (Lepoldina 2017). The report outlines terms for effective integrated watershed management in cities to ensure environmental safety and public health. It addresses sanitation and rain water management, information flows, and public involvement in these issues. The report emphasises that resolving contaminants-related problems, such as micropollutants in order to avoid health risks, necessitates connecting different sectors. Available online, the science-policy report resulting from a workshop targets a broad selection of funding organisations, relevant scientific institutions, and policymakers in order to raise awareness and provide inspiration for future research and policy.

    The report is the product of a workshop under the same name, which took place at University of Essen in Germany in October 2016. The workshop aimed to help early-careeer scientists establish and strengthen both international and intergenerational networks. Among the young bright minds at the workshop, UNU-FLORES researcher Ana Andreu Mendez from the System and Flux Analysis Considering Global Change Assessment (SFA) unit contributed to the drafting of the report as a co-author.

    Image: ZWU/Jörg Strackbein

    Image: ZWU/Jörg Strackbein

    Known for her work on remote sensing for water management in Africa’s savannas, Ana Andreu Mendez uses satellites to map water use and monitor seasonal temporal changes in order to better identify water fluxes. She represented UNU-FLORES during the workshop with other participants selected from a competitive pool of future luminaries in  watershed management research.

    ‘’The science-policy report resulting from the workshop demonstrates that, in line with the mandate of UNU-FLORES, this forum indeed worked as international thinktank on urban water issues. Ana Andreu Mendez and the other co-authors have highlighted the urgent need for integrated approaches – still an important message to raise. Moreover, they identified key questions for future research on ‘hot’ topics in the area, thus showing the way forward.”
    Stephan Hülsmann, Academic Officer of the SFA unit

    The advice given by the authors for strategies to sustainable urban water management clearly highlights how our young scientists want to live tomorrow: in a more appealing and viable urban environment for us and future generations.