Cover Image


View/Hide Left Panel


To meet future urban water and sanitation challenges we have to rethink the way we manage urban water systems. We need a paradigm shift. A more integrated approach may transform threats into opportunities and address the challenges of urban water management in both developed and developing countries. Do we continue to spend money to treat water to drinking water quality only to use it to fight fires or carry wastes to a wastewater treatment plant? Do we continue to spend money on the traditional (grey) infrastructure?

In addition to the integrated approach, do we consider more decentralized approaches where beneficial? Water reuse, energy recovery, the use of local water sources, and waterless toilets all foster decentralization. I predict that we will see many more integrated decentralized approaches to urban renewal efforts in the future, in the cities of both developing and developed countries.


Grayman WM, Loucks DP, Saito L, eds. 2012. Toward a Sustainable Water Future: Visions for 2050. Reston, VA: ASCE Press.

NYCDEP [New York City Department of Environmental Protection]. 2012. NYC Green Infrastructure: 2012 Annual Report. Available at

UN [United Nations]. 2012. World Water Development Report No. 4. Paris: World Water Assessment Program, UNESCO.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement