The unstoppable exponential growth of cities will turn us into an eminently urban species in a few decades. For life on Earth to be sustainable cities also need to be so, and this will not be possible without the smart technologies integrated in circular economy. Their implementation is a great challenge for poor economies, which are most overwhelmed by urban growth and are not able to supply water and sanitation. This needs to be an international responsibility because what happens in these cities will be decisive for life on Earth.
Water News and Reports
There can be no technological growth without the support of citizens. Intelligent urban water management systems will achieve maximum efficiency if they go hand in hand with architecture, urban planning and governance in a conscious user environment. Cities are destined to be smart, but they will only succeed if their inhabitants are smart. The experts gathered by the We Are Water Foundation corroborate this.
In 2015, the severe water crisis in São Paulo showed the imbalance in the access to water in most large cities in Brazil and changed the way water is managed in a country with over 12% of the reserves of the planet. The expert Marussia Whately explained this in the series of conferences “Water and metropolis”organised by the We Are Water Foundation and Casa Amèrica Catalunya. Brazil reacts and the planet heavily depends on it.
Cities can be much more than just asphalt, bricks and concrete: they can end up supplying most of the food of the future, saving water and being effective elements in the fight against climate change. Urban and peri-urban agriculture is a movement that gains strength as it is a key driver for the transformation and development of cities, and an incentive for the reuse of water.
The abundance of water in Nepal, the second country in the world with more water resources, contrasts with the serious access problems of nine million people, a quarter of its population. Its capital, Kathmandu, suffers the consequences of the lack of management and the pollution of rivers and aquifers. Its inhabitants fight for their water supply every day, and so does the population of many Asian cities.
Urban expansion, the demand of agricultural production, the need to evolve in political management and climate change define a crucial moment in the progress of Latin American countries, which depend on water more than ever. Sergio Bitar, Chilean engineer and former minister, explained this in the series of conferences “Water and metropolis” organized by the We Are Water Foundation and Casa Amèrica Catalunya.
We need to start thinking more about how we interact with water instead of how we control it. The most developed countries are designing an intelligent water network that is able to control the supply problems and prevent natural disasters. But the solution based on a model that is exclusively technological is not the right one and it can increase the already existing barriers for those who do not even have water.
Can Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, New Delhi... become cities that regenerate as many resources as they consume? This is a very high demand, a utopia according to many, but from the water perspective we need to start thinking about making it possible or at least, about getting close to it. We need to be close to the concept of reuse, and in many cases time is of the essence.
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