Journal Article

Sustainable urban water management under a changing climate: The role of spatial planning


The provision of a sustainable supply of water is an increasingly difficult task to achieve in many urban environments. This arises because of pressures related to population growth and increased per capita demand for water. Additionally, climate change is impacting the natural cycle of water in many locations, with a significant impact projected for the future. Many scholars advocate ‘sustainable urban water management’ (SUWM) as an approach that can address the root causes of these challenges. Yet the implementation of SUWM and adaptation to climate change in the urban water sector remains limited. This paper argues that spatial planning provides tools and processes that can facilitate the full implementation of SUWM goals, and adaptation to climate change. The potential of spatial planning to achieve SUWM, including sustainable urban water supply management through both supply and demand end initiatives, in light of climate change, is discussed. A framework is developed to consider a broad range of spatial planning interventions that can facilitate adaptation to climate change and SUWM concurrently. The paper provides information and tools to assist water planners achieve SUWM and a well-adapted water sector and urban environment, in an integrated, holistic and comprehensive manner, to meet future water supply needs. Achieving these goals will need collaborative activities across multiple built environment disciplines. Future research activities to advance these goals are outlined.

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Hurlimann, Anna
Wilson, Elizabeth

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment\School of the Built Environment


Year of publication: 2018
Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-06-26

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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