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Event Preview: IWA World Water Congress, Tokyo

By Katharine Kross

At the upcoming World Water Congress taking place in Tokyo, Japan from September 16-21, 2018, IWA will launch the Basin-Connected Cities Action Agenda. This agenda builds on the principles for Water Wise Cities.


Basin Connected Cities Action Agenda
In 2016, ten cities endorsed the IWA Principles for Water-Wise Cities at the IWA World Water Congress in Brisbane, Australia. This official signing signaled their dedication to undertake actions to improve resilience to floods, droughts and the challenges of growing water scarcity, and to integrate water in city planning to provide increased liveability, efficiencies, and a sense of place for urban communities. Since then more than 50 institutions including cities, utilities, governments, basin agencies, and universities have endorsed the principles.

At the upcoming World Water Congress taking place in Tokyo, Japan from September 16th to 21st, 2018, IWA will launch the Basin-Connected Cities Action Agenda. The agenda builds on the Principles for Water Wise Cities, with a focus on how cities can be active water stewards in their wider water basins. The agenda aims to influence and activate urban stakeholders to protect and invest in water resources with basin and catchment organizations, including securing the water resource, protecting water quality and preparing (and responding) to extreme events.

IWA Principles for Water Wise Cities

Global projections show that urban populations will continue to rise, thus improving water security and protecting water resources which cities rely on is a priority. Pressures on water sources can result in, for example, the disruption of the production of treated water for distribution, which has serious health as well as economic consequences. Such problems cannot be solved by individual entities alone, as the wider catchment is often beyond their mandate. Utilities and city governments can, however, take the lead by engaging with and influencing other relevant stakeholders.

Consequently, it is critical to encourage urban leaders (cities, utilities, and industries) to champion water resources protection by connecting with basin and catchment organizations, which also manage the connection between all relevant stakeholders across the basin such as the agriculture and mining sectors that impact water quantity and quality downstream. The Basin-Connected Cities Agenda outlines the rationale for urban stakeholders to lead the way in realizing their role as water stewards and the different pathways and activities towards achieving more integrated water resources management. This includes the drivers for action such as flooding, water scarcity, and pollution; followed by the pathways for action through assessment, planning and implementation; and the foundations for action from developing a vision to building capacity to improving governance.

To support the agenda, IWA has developed and is developing Basin Stories to document some of the best practices and approaches that demonstrate how stakeholders especially those in urban areas (e.g. city government, water and wastewater utilities, industries) are taking part or contributing to sustainable management of water resources. For example, how SUNASS, the national water regulator in Peru, together with water utilities and other stakeholders are working to introduce principles and practices to create water-wise basins. Or how a water fund is bringing together major water consumers in Nairobi – companies and government agencies with a vested interest in high quality and reliable water supply – and creating linkages to non-urban communities.

A Global Event for Water Professionals
The IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2018 will be held in the phenomenal Tokyo Big Sight, 3 Chome-11-1 Ariake, Koto, Tokyo 135-0063, Japan.

The event brings over 5,500 water, environment, and related professionals from more than 100 countries and offers new insights into how pioneering science, technological innovation and leading practices shape the major transformation in water management that is underway.

The 2016 edition took place in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and covered 5 programme themes: Cities, Utilities and Industries Leading Change; Re-Charting the Course of Water Resources; Enabling Progress with Good Governance, Sustainable Finance, and ICT; Water Quality, Safety and Human Health and Water and Wastewater Processes and Treatments.

The 2018 edition taking place in Tokyo will have the key focus on digital economy, megacities, diffusion of innovation, disaster resilience and sustainability.

Katharine Kross, IWA

The Forum will focus on the resilience of water supply, drainage and wastewater systems in cities. It is a unique opportunity to learn about the Japanese experience from the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 in recovering the functions of their water and sewerage works.

The sessions also share practical experiences of several cities in the world on building water resilience strategies, understanding resilience as the capacity to recover after a disruptive event (disaster or crisis) or slow changes (diminishing resources, social changes, climate change). Lessons learned on how to assess the risks, how to reduce the risks and prepare for the emergency response will be shared throughout the three complementary sessions on the following topics:

• Lessons learned from the Great East Japan earthquake, the recovery of water and sewerage works,
• Enhancing water security, and
• Wastewater and drainage as opportunities to enhance resilience.

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