This report seeks to expand on our annual Sustainable Cities Index to focus solely on water and identify which city is harnessing its water assets for the greatest long term advantage. It is our hope that city leaders find this ranking to be a valuable tool in helping them to think of water as an opportunity and as a resource for economic development while also meeting the critical needs and safety of their residents and the environment.
The overall index examines the water sustainability of 50 cities from 31 countries across all continents of the world. Each of the cities included have distinctive water relationships that helped shape their urban character and define their commercial identity and competitiveness. The cities are ranked according to not only how sustainably they manage and maintain water, but also against their natural risk and vulnerability across three pillars of water sustainability – resiliency, efficiency and quality. Download the 2016 report or dive into the findings below.Download in PDF
A water resilient city is well prepared to overcome the challenges associated with both too little as well as too much water. It protects its citizens against disasters such as flooding and drought, while ensuring that water-related services continue undisrupted. As a result of climate change, soil subsidence, coastal erosion and urbanization, extreme weather events and water scarcity are becoming more commonplace in many cities. Furthermore, the Index highlights a significant gap between the top performers and the rest of the world. Check out the resiliency sub-index.
Clean, usable water is an extremely valuable resource that is essential to the health of a city’s citizens and economy. Efficient and controlled management of this resource is, therefore, vital for service continuity in both the production and distribution of water, minimizing cost of service, and preserving this resource for future generations. Low instances of leakage, as well as accountability in terms of water usage in the form of metering, are key to ensuring a city’s water systems run efficiently. Check out the efficiency sub-index.
Cities in the developed world have historically improved their prosperity and economies only after adequately addressing water quality and sanitation, making them more competitive. Cities in developing nations will need to improve water quality to become prosperous, sustainable urban centers. In the Index, water quality is arguably the area where performance is highest, with many cities having recognized its critical role in improving quality of life, and thus have made significant investment. However, it remains a challenge for a number of developing cities such as growing cities in Africa and Asia. Check out the quality sub-index.
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