Integrated water resources management in cities in the world: Global solutions

Stef H.A. Koop, Cloé Grison, Steven J. Eisenreich, Jan Hofman, Kees J. van Leeuwen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (SciVal)


Population growth, urbanisation, climate change, biodiversity loss, energy use, water security and ageing infrastructures for water supply and treatment require a thorough understanding of the options available for moving towards sustainable cities. The present study provides an analysis of transformation patterns regarding integrated water resources management (IWRM) of cities across the globe. We evaluate IWRM in 125 cities with 48 mostly quantitative indicators collected for each city by performing a cluster analysis of 6000 indicator scores following the City Blueprint Approach. We distinguish five clusters of cities which show a pattern of problem-shifting, i.e., the shifting of largely preventable water resources problems often in the following sequence: drinking water insecurity, pollution caused by inadequate wastewater treatment, inadequate solid waste management, inaction on climate change adaptation, and resource depletion. A city that can address and solve all these problems can be classified as water-wise. Based on the cluster analysis, seven principles are defined to enable urban areas to become water-wise. Because water takes a central position in the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs), and is linked, directly or indirectly, to nearly all SDGs, success in IWRM is an important enabler for the other SDGs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104137
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Early online date17 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2022


  • City blueprint
  • Climate adaptation
  • Environmental governance
  • Urban sustainability
  • Water management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Transportation


Dive into the research topics of 'Integrated water resources management in cities in the world: Global solutions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this