Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Germany / KfW Development Bank

Closing urban water cycles – transforming urban water solutions

Wednesday 29 August | 16.00-17.30 | Room: M6

For decades, the urban water cycle has been perceived and built as an input-output system: Surface water, rainwater and groundwater from providing ecosystems in the rural hinterland is channeled to the cities, and consecutively stored and distributed among the water users. Afterwards, “waste”water is collected, treated and released to surface waters, which take it back to the “nature” out of the city. However, increased variability in water availability - for example due to climate change or water pollution – and an exploding urban demand due rising population and living standards, challenge this process and the large infrastructures related to it. Innovative solutions that combine conventional freshwater resources with unconventional, “nature-based” solutions of water supply are gaining ground around the globe. Approaches like artificial aquifer recharge, direct water reclamation, rainwater harvesting and decentralized infiltration have the potential to re-shape the urban water cycle towards more efficiency and sustainability. The event will discuss crucial aspects of technical implementation and economic and financial sustainability of these innovations and showcase their application (e.g. on the case of Windhoek, Namibia). Furthermore, we will discuss how this can contribute to an integrated implementation of the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals 6, 14 and 15.


16:00    Opening statement
             Daniela Krahl, Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation

16:05    Introduction: Transforming urban water cycles
             Michael Eichholz, BGR / Edgar Firmenich, KfW

16:20    Intra-Urban Water Reuse – Case Studies
             Peter Cornel, TU Darmstadt, Germany

16:45     Groundwater in urban water cycles: The southern African experience
              Kevin Pietersen, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

17:10     Discussion / Question and Answers

17:30    Closing