Urban water security: A review

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We review the increasing body of research on urban water security. First, we reflect on the four different focusses in water security literature: welfare, equity, sustainability and water-related risks. Second, we make an inventory of the multiple perspectives on urban water security: disciplinary perspectives (e.g. engineering, environmental, public policy, public health), problem-oriented perspectives (e.g. water shortage, flooding, water pollution), goal-oriented perspectives (e.g. better water supply and sanitation, better sewerage and wastewater treatment, safety from flooding, proper urban drainage), integrated-water versus water-integrated perspectives, and policy analytical versus governance perspectives. Third, we take a systems perspective on urban water security, taking the pressure-state-impact-response structure as an analytical framework and link that to the 'urban water transitions framework' as proposed by Brown et al (Water. Sci. Technol. 59 2009). A systems approach can be helpful to comprehend the complexity of the urban system, including its relation with its (global) environment, and better understand the dynamics of urban water security. Finally, we reflect on work done in the area of urban water security indices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number053002
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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