Adopt IUWM

INTEGRATED URBAN WATER MANAGEMENT

What is Integrated Urban Water Management?

Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) is an approach that builds on planning, managing and maintaining the water sector in cities by considering the entire urban water loop and closing it.

What are the principles of IUWM?

AdoptIUWM has compiled the 13 essential principles of IUWM, which have evolved over time to overcome the shortcomings of conventional water management practices within a city, with an aim to provide sustainable and inclusive access to water. The principles are explained in detail in the AdoptIUWM Toolkit.

Why do Indian cities need IUWM?

The amount of water used in India is estimated at around 634 billion cubic metres (BCM) and is projected to grow to 1447 BCM by 2050 – far above the usable amount of water, which today is on average 1,123 BCM per year. Already, many Indian municipalities are struggling with water: from abstracting from distant sources, having high non-revenue water (NRW) losses, low infrastructure coverage, inadequate wastewater treatment capacity, suffering flooding to high levels of water scarcity and other challenges. The closing of the urban water loop and integration of the water sector with other urban management sectors (e.g., land use, transport, energy, solid waste) provides solutions.

What is the urban water loop?

The urban water loop describes the cycle water takes from abstracting it from its sources, purifying and distributing it to the people living in the city, its private sector and public utilities. The cycle continues with the collection, treatment and channelling of water to recharge our water sources. To close the urban water cycle and allow our sources to recharge, cities need to manage the way storm water is collected, used as a resource and discharged.

Cities abstract water from various sources through channels, pumps and borewells. In most cases, freshly sourced water does not comply with safe water standards and regulations so it needs to be purified to produce water of potable quality. After purification water it is distributed directly (i.e. supply via individual taps to households, companies, hospitals, etc.) or indirectly (i.e. supply via intermediate storage in overhead tanks or to public taps) to the points of use. As consumers living in the city, all use water for different purposes and require different amounts of it. By using water we pollute it – although to varying degrees – and waste water accumulates. To ensure water can be safely discharged, prevent diseases and foul odour, waste water needs to be collected and treated. Treating water to meet preset safe water standards makes it possible to re-use and return water to nature to recharge our ground water and close both the hydrological, natural and the urban water loop.