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Sustainable Urban Water Management

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More and more people live in cities. The explosive growth of urbanization is resulting in a growing pressure on resources, especially water. Simultaneously, most cities and high density population areas are situated in deltas which are vulnerable areas in case of flooding. Also with unprecedented growth in cities many water related problems arise such as sanitation issues, water scarcity, decline of water quality. Climatic changes enlarge these effects even more. Therefore sustainable water management is a core issue of urban development and urban management and touches upon many aspects and challenges of living in urban environments.

Using this context as a starting point this module aims at describing and analyzing the multidimensional issues of urban development that relate to urban water cycles or urban water in general in the context of climatic change. We will provide knowledge and insights about new approaches to managing these issues and subsequently of their solution strategies.

Through analytical understanding and the building up of skills and expertise this module aims to provide insights in as well as focal points for the building of effective and integral strategies of sustainable and climate proof water management for urban development.

Module Objectives

  1. Understand the general relation between water, urban development and climate change, floods, droughts, quality, sanitation, availability, resources, political dimensions/conflicts and gain insight in the multidimensional aspects of water management in cities
  2. Foster an understanding about various approaches and trends in dealing with water management in cities.
  3. Develop analytical understanding and ability to diagnose wicked problems related to water in cities and identify possible solution strategies
  4. Conduct empirical case studies and provide an academic reflection on the context specific issues of urban water management by using various conceptual approaches.

Expected learning outcomes

  1. Being able to understand, analyze and describe the multi-dimensionality of water related urban development issues, in particular the intricate relation of water issues, climate change and urban development.
  2. Be able to describe and distinguish between various approaches to deal with water management in cities.
  3. Have analytical understanding and ability to diagnose wicked problems related to water in cities and identify possible solution strategies
  4. Applying of concepts and tools related to approaches to SUWM in reflecting on practical decision-making and planning situations concerning water management and urban development

To access the lecturers' notes and instructions, contact the module developer Dr. Peter Scholten (, Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, the Netherlands.

Universities that are/have been part of co-funded projects by the Erasmus Mundus Programme are eligible to have full access to the module.

Creative Commons

All SUSTAIN materials are subject to the basic terms and conditions in accordance with the Creative Commons license agreement. Users should give credit to the SUSTAIN Project as well as to the module developer. Furthermore, users are not allowed to use any module material for commercial purposes without permission from the SUSTAIN Project and module developer.