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SWITCH Training Kit

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The SWITCH Training Kit contains six modules covering all of the central features of urban water management. It provides insights into: the interactions between the different elements of the urban water cycle; the wide-reaching benefits of an integrated approach to managing water; the recommended phases of a strategic planning process; and ways and means to work with local stakeholders effectively.

This toolkit provides training for local governments that require technological and socioeconomic solutions to improve water management and is aimed at water managers, urban planners and engineers from local governments and water, wastewater and drainage utilities.

The output of SWITCH:

  • A vulnerability assessment document, generated in word and pdf format. The vulnerability assessment ‘document’ or output (to distinguish it from the overall vulnerability assessment process, which covers all three steps) combines the findings of both an adaptive capacity assessment and a sensitivity assessment.

An action plan, which is the compilation of programmes, projects and other measures that match the selected strategy and are designed to achieve the objectives and targets within a defined time and budget frame. The action plan informs a subsequent implementation phase which (enabling physical progress towards the vision).

The SWITCH ‘Toolkit’ is comprised of six modules split into three phases which inform and support the greater SWITCH planning framework.

  • Module 1 (Strategic Planning) and Module 2 (Stakeholder Involvement) work in conjunction to build understanding of an integrated water management approach while providing support for effective stakeholder engagement. The support from these modules forms the cornerstone of an appropriate and accurate vulnerability assessment, since it ensures that all relevant issues and local knowledge are included in the analysis. This will also enhance the chances of a successful implementation of corresponding adaptation measures.
  • Module 3 (Water Supply), Module 4 (Storm Water), and Module 5 (Waste Water) provide reference material for how each urban water supply, storm water, and waste water can benefit from increased integration. Each module includes examples of innovative solutions as researched in SWITCH, and highlights the contribution that these can make toward a more sustainable city.

Module 6 (Decision Support Tools) assist the SWITCH participant in choosing the most sustainable path, and introduces the concept of integrated decision making for urban water management. Different tools are more suitable for different contexts, and SWITCH makes a wide range of tools available accordingly. The principal decision making tools developed in SWITCH include City Water Information System (CWIS), City Water Balance (CWB) and City Water Economics (CWE).

Several inputs are required for completion of the SWITCH framework:

A baseline assessment, including an assessment of adaptive capacity, must be conducted. Before entering into a process of change, a city needs to know its starting point. A baseline assessment is an initial collection and analysis of information to gain up-to-date knowledge about factors affecting systems.

  • Assessment of adaptive capacity should form an integral part of the baseline assessment, since it requires a city to take stock of the existing characteristics of a system that will determine to an extent how it responds to hazards, as shown in the next sub-section.
  • Visioning, a concise description of a desired future state that contains the broad goals that give an overall direction for the strategic planning process, should be conducted.
  • Objectives must be set. In the context of SWITCH, objectives are a more detailed and concrete breakdown of a vision into sub-goals that specify what changes in state need to be achieved for the vision to become reality.

Indicators and targets must be set. Indicators are tools to measure and/or visualize progress towards the objectives, while targets are aspired indicator values, usually expressed in specific figures.

To complete the SWITCH planning framework, the required framework conditions are:

  • Module 1 should be used for visioning, and in conjunction with Module 2, should form the backbone of the baseline assessment and subsequent vulnerability assessment.
  • Module 2 should be used to complete a comprehensive vulnerability assessment.
    • A meeting room with a whiteboard or chart paper should be provided. Minutes of each stakeholder meeting should be recorded.
  • Module 3, 4, & 5 should be used to refine indicators, targets, and objectives.
  • Module 6 should be used to support decisions that will be made in the implementation phased of the planning framework
    • A Windows OS based personal computer is required to use the software for decision-support tools.

Training courses on the SWITCH method are offered, and delivered either through face-to-face workshops or through on-line training.

This tool can be used with the ‘Urban Water Management’ Module of the Sustain project to:

  • SWITCH Module 1 can provide practical insight into the relation between water, urban development and climate change.
  • SWITCH Module 3, 4, & 5 provide insight into the various approaches and trends in integrated urban water management.
  • SWITCH Module 6 can used to inform solutions strategies.

The overarching SWITCH planning framework can be used as a framework for a case study, as 12 case studies using this framework were produced as part of the SWITCH project.