Urban Water Agenda


DG Environment ready to collaborate with cities for driving innovation in the urban water sector

Veronica Manfredi, Director for Quality of Life at DG Environment of the European Commission set the scene at last week’s water session during the EU Green Cities Summit that took place in Brussels from 22 to 24 May 2018. Pointing out that the national river basin management plans developed under the EU Water Framework Directive reveal that cities significantly add to the pressures on European river systems, Manfredi also recognises cities’ contributions to safeguarding Europe’s water resources as well as the need for further strengthening their capacity to act sustainably and efficiently.

Representatives of three cities provided evidence that cities are keen to raise the bar in urban water management. Mary-Ann Schreurs, Councillor of Innovation, Culture and Public Space of the Municipality of Eindhoven stressed the city’s achievements in deploying nature-based solutions and green infrastructure to improve the quality and climate resilience of open space. Sofia Cordeiro, Advisor in the Urban Green Structure, Environment, Climate and Energy Councillor’s Office at the Municipality of Lisbon emphasised that water scarcity has become a serious concern for the city and water reuse will play an increasing role in responding to it. Jesus Rodriguez, Deputy Director General for City Quality and Development and Director for Urbanism and Land Planning of the Municipality of Lille shared with the audience that the collection of rainwater and its redistribution to the city’ canals allowed 1.3 million EUR of savings and helped improve urban biodiversity at the same time.

The session also provided the first opportunity to inform the wider public about the strategy of the Urban Water Agenda 2030 (UWA2030) which was presented by Barbara Anton from ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. ICLEI and EUROCITIES have developed the UWA2030 strategy as an input for establishing a process to facilitate knowledge exchange on sustainable urban water management while strengthening the implementation of EU water policy. The strategy, which was developed in 2017 under the auspices of the European Commission with a core group of 20 cities and water sector stakeholders from all across Europe, is currently under discussion and decisions on the way forward are expected over the course of this year. The Porto Declaration on the UWA2030 is also still open for the signature of local politicians to express their support for this initiative.

For more information on the UWA2030 and the Porto Declaration on the UWA2030, please consult the related website or write to water@iclei.org.

Publication date: 30 May 2018