On 27th April, the European Commission published today the Urban Water Atlas for Europe. The publication – the first of its kind – shows how different water management choices, as well as other factors such as waste management, climate change and even our food preferences, affect the long-term sustainability of water use in our cities.
The new atlas illustrates the role of water in European cities and informs citizens as well as local authorities and experts about good practices and cutting-edge developments that can contribute to ensuring that water is used more efficiently and sustainably, helping to save this valuable resource. It also attempts to change traditional perceptions of water being a free and infinite resource, and to encourage conservation. Detailed factsheets in the Urban Water Atlas for Europe present the state of water management in more than 40 European cities and regions together with a number of overseas examples.
Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, added: “Water is an irreplaceable resource for society, but it is only renewable if well managed. Home to three out of four EU citizens, cities have no other choice but to become water-wise, and better manage this precious resource. A strong water policy is also essential for delivering on Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development both in the EU and internationally.”
The Atlas comes with two online tools that can help cities manage water more sustainably. The 'City Blueprint' is an interactive tool to support strategic decision-making by making it easy to access and understand relevant results and expert knowledge. The tool can present up to 25 different aspects of water management to give an overview of a city's strong and weak points, and provides tailor-made options for making urban water services more sustainable. The 'City Amberprint' is a tool for assessing a city's progress towards becoming smart and sustainable.
The Urban Water Atlas stems from a collaboration of the European Commission's in-house science service – the Joint Research Centre – with Fundació CTM Centre Tecnològic, the KWR Watercycle Research Institute, the European Innovation Partnership on Water, and the Network for Water in European Regions and Cities, NETWERC H2O.