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City Blueprints: 24 Indicators to Assess the Sustainability of the Urban Water Cycle

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  • Cornelis Leeuwen
  • Jos Frijns
  • Annemarie Wezel
  • Frans Ven

Abstract

Climate change, population growth and increased consumption, coupled with urbanization, are all placing increased pressure on water management. This global challenge can often best be addressed at the local level, e.g. in cities by optimizing the role of civil society. Although there are approaches for assessing the sustainability of countries and cities, there is no dedicated framework for the assessment of the sustainability of urban water management. We have therefore compiled a comprehensive list of indicators (the city blueprint) for this. The city blueprint is proposed as a first step towards gaining a better understanding and addressing the challenges of integrated urban water management (IUWM). City blueprints will enable the IUWM of cities to be compared, and stimulate the exchange of success stories (good practices) between cities to address the enormous IUWM challenges which lie ahead. The city blueprint provides a quick scan and baseline assessment. It comprises elements from a variety of methodologies, such as water footprint, urban metabolism and ecosystem services. The indicators have been subdivided into eight broad categories, i.e. (1) water security following the water footprint approach developed by Hoekstra and Chapagain ( 2007 ), (2) water quality, which includes surface water and groundwater, (3) drinking water, (4) sanitation, (5) infrastructure, (6) climate robustness, (7) biodiversity and attractiveness and (8) governance. Experience using city blueprints for the cities of Rotterdam, Maastricht and Venlo (in the Netherlands) have been included as practical examples. It was concluded that simplicity (ease of calculation and data availability), transparency and ease of communication makes the blueprint a valuable tool for policy makers, decision makers and resource managers as a first step in the process of understanding, envisioning, developing and implementing measures to transform the water management of cities. The best results are obtained when all the stakeholders are involved and connected right from the start. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Cornelis Leeuwen & Jos Frijns & Annemarie Wezel & Frans Ven, 2012. "City Blueprints: 24 Indicators to Assess the Sustainability of the Urban Water Cycle," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 26(8), pages 2177-2197, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:waterr:v:26:y:2012:i:8:p:2177-2197
    DOI: 10.1007/s11269-012-0009-1
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    Cited by:

    1. Steven Koop & Cornelis Leeuwen, 2015. "Assessment of the Sustainability of Water Resources Management: A Critical Review of the City Blueprint Approach," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 29(15), pages 5649-5670, December.
    2. S. H. A. Koop & C. J. Leeuwen, 2017. "The challenges of water, waste and climate change in cities," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 385-418, April.
    3. Anna Petit‐Boix & Carla Arnal & Desirée Marín & Alejandro Josa & Xavier Gabarrell & Joan Rieradevall, 2018. "Addressing the Life Cycle of Sewers in Contrasting Cities through an Eco‐Efficiency Approach," Journal of Industrial Ecology, Yale University, vol. 22(5), pages 1092-1104, October.
    4. Yin Su & Weijun Gao & Dongjie Guan & Tai’an Zuo, 2020. "Achieving Urban Water Security: a Review of Water Management Approach from Technology Perspective," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 34(13), pages 4163-4179, October.
    5. Anna Petit-Boix & David Sanjuan-Delmás & Carles Gasol & Gara Villalba & María Suárez-Ojeda & Xavier Gabarrell & Alejandro Josa & Joan Rieradevall, 2014. "Environmental Assessment of Sewer Construction in Small to Medium Sized Cities Using Life Cycle Assessment," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 28(4), pages 979-997, March.
    6. Amaral, António L. & Martins, Rita & Dias, Luís C., 2023. "Operational drivers of water reuse efficiency in Portuguese wastewater service providers," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 83(C).
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    8. Chu, Junying & Wang, Jianhua & Wang, Can, 2015. "A structure–efficiency based performance evaluation of the urban water cycle in northern China and its policy implications," Resources, Conservation & Recycling, Elsevier, vol. 104(PA), pages 1-11.
    9. Juliana Marcal & Blanca Antizar-Ladislao & Jan Hofman, 2021. "Addressing Water Security: An Overview," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(24), pages 1-18, December.
    10. Fernanda Caroline Caldatto & Sandro César Bortoluzzi & Edson Pinheiro de Lima & Sergio E. Gouvea da Costa, 2021. "Urban Sustainability Performance Measurement of a Small Brazilian City," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(17), pages 1-16, September.
    11. C. Leeuwen, 2013. "City Blueprints: Baseline Assessments of Sustainable Water Management in 11 Cities of the Future," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 27(15), pages 5191-5206, December.
    12. D'Amore, Gabriella & Landriani, Loris & Lepore, Luigi, 2021. "Ownership and sustainability of Italian water utilities: The stakeholder role," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    13. Badir S. Alsaeed & Dexter V. L. Hunt & Soroosh Sharifi, 2024. "A Sustainable Water Resources Management Assessment Framework (SWRM-AF) for Arid and Semi-Arid Regions—Part 1: Developing the Conceptual Framework," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 16(7), pages 1-43, March.
    14. Edson Gonçalves & Morganna Werneck Capodeferro & Juliana Jerônimo Smiderle & Pedro H. Engel Guimarães, 2022. "Sustainability of water and sanitation state-owned companies in Brazil," Competition and Regulation in Network Industries, , vol. 23(2), pages 101-118, June.
    15. Chandra Lal Pandey, 2021. "Managing urban water security: challenges and prospects in Nepal," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 241-257, January.
    16. Thomas Elliot & Javier Babí Almenar & Samuel Niza & Vânia Proença & Benedetto Rugani, 2019. "Pathways to Modelling Ecosystem Services within an Urban Metabolism Framework," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(10), pages 1-22, May.
    17. Ivan Halkijevic & Zivko Vukovic & Drazen Vouk, 2017. "Indicators and a Neuro-Fuzzy Based Model for the Evaluation of Water Supply Sustainability," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 31(12), pages 3683-3698, September.
    18. Steven Koop & Cornelis Leeuwen, 2015. "Application of the Improved City Blueprint Framework in 45 Municipalities and Regions," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 29(13), pages 4629-4647, October.
    19. Kılkış, Şiir, 2019. "Benchmarking the sustainability of urban energy, water and environment systems and envisioning a cross-sectoral scenario for the future," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 529-545.
    20. Horea Olosutean & Maria Cerciu, 2022. "Water Sustainability in the Context of Global Warming: A Bibliometric Analysis," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(14), pages 1-14, July.
    21. Julie C. Padowski & Lorenzo Carrera & James W. Jawitz, 2016. "Overcoming Urban Water Insecurity with Infrastructure and Institutions," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 30(13), pages 4913-4926, October.

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