This content was originally published on The Resilience Shift website. The Resilience Shift, a 5-year programme supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation and hosted by Arup, transitioned at the end of 2021 to become Resilience Rising. You can read more about The Resilience Shift’s journey and the transition to Resilience Rising here.

The Water Resilience Profiles for the City of Cape Town and Greater Miami and the Beaches are now published providing an opportunity to see how they have used the City Water Resilience Approach to build the resilience of their water systems.

Download the Cape Town Water Resilience Profile

Download the Greater Miami and the Beaches Profile


Cities taking the lead on new approaches to urban water resilience

 The aim of the City Water Resilience Approach (CWRA) is to embed urban water resilience into water systems in a way that best fits a City’s unique context.

The first cities to implement the Approach and develop water resilience profiles and action plans are the cities of Cape Town and Greater Miami and the Beaches.

CWI Wheel diagram

The CWRA has been developed and tested in close partnership with these and other cities around the world. They have been instrumental in its development, contributing knowledge and the willingness to co-create a solution that can inspire others to tackle their own water resilience challenges enabled by the CWRA.

The framework and supporting methodology was developed to help cities provide safer and more secure water resources for their citizens and protect communities and property from water-related shocks and stresses. It provides a globally applicable, transparent, objective and evidence-based approach to create a shared understanding of water resilience of a city and collaboratively develop and implement a resilient action plan.

The Water Resilience Profiles for Cape Town and Greater Miami provide an opportunity to see how the CWRA brings stakeholders together to develop a comprehensive assessment of water management in a city and translate this diagnosis into opportunities to improve the water resilience of the city. The documents describe the assessment process and its results, identifying strengths that can be leveraged and built on, as well as those areas that can be improved to ensure water security and protection from water shocks and stresses in the city. They set out how the insights from the assessment translate these conclusions into tangible new actions that build each city’s water resilience.


Cape Town

Cape Town is emerging from the worst drought in its recorded history and has learned many lessons from navigating this shock event. Using the CWRA to analyse its water system and build programmatic responses is a useful way to take a holistic look at the water challenges facing the city. Climate change, rapid urbanisation and technological change all pose challenges to Cape Town’s water future. Resilience now forms part of the vision for water in the new Cape Town Water Strategy.

Alderman Xanthea Limberg, the Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste in the City of Cape Town, said “Cape Town is grateful to have been selected as the first city in the world to deploy the City Water Resilience Framework. We have found the holistic water resilience profile for Cape Town very insightful. For a city that is focused on responding to a drought shock, the CWRF keeps a focus on a wider range of water-related shocks and stresses that need to be addressed”.

Cape Town City officials said, “In June 2019, more than 40 water leaders from civil society, business, academia and government gave generously of their time to share their expert opinions on a range of factors that contribute to water resilience in Cape Town. We now have a water resilience profile for our city for the first time.”

The Cape Town Water Resilience Profile provides a comprehensive assessment of water management in the city. It evaluates the wide-ranging factors that impact water management and service provision and assesses the impacts of water on all Capetonians. In this, it builds on other recent work initiated by the City. It explores key themes first presented in the Cape Town Water Strategy of 2019, which captures many lessons from the drought, and makes a firm commitment to a “˜whole-of-society’ approach to make Cape Town a truly water sensitive city by 2040.

Download the Cape Town Water Resilience Profile


Greater Miami and the Beaches

In Greater Miami and the Beaches, the City is literally surrounded by water, even from below with the Biscayne Aquifer. It is also faced with many water-related challenges including sea level rise and saltwater intrusion. As it developed its own Resilient305 Strategy, City leaders were aware of the important role that water plays in their daily lives and the future of their community, as well as the need to address water resources and management in a more holistic way. They focused much effort on these issues, and 17 of the 59 Resilient305 Actions are related to addressing water-related challenges and opportunities.

City Resilience Officers (CROs) from Greater Miami and the Beaches said, “We are grateful to have been selected as one of the pilot communities for the City Water Resilience Framework, essential to implementing these water-related actions in Resilient305, particularly Action 54: Employ a One Water Approach. We are confident that it will provide a structure and path forward for continued learning, implementation, and improved resilience of our water systems and services. We look forward to working with our framework partners and city colleagues and sharing our experience and results to inform others worldwide.”

Hardeep Anand, Deputy Director, Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department said: “The Greater Miami and the Beaches Water Resilience Profile represents an opportunity to continue regional efforts to build resilience capacity and explore strategies, through multiple lenses, to improve the water security of the region. The actions identified provide a foundational architecture upon which stakeholders can build upon by means of policies, projects, and continued coordinated work. The insights generated from this approach will ultimately help to protect the lives and health and well-being of the region’s inhabitants and environmental assets.”

Download the Greater Miami and the Beaches Profile


Accelerating infrastructure resilience with the CWRA

Juliet Mian, Technical Director Resilience Shift, said, “There is a need to equip organisations and individuals with the tools and approaches they need to introduce resilience into their decision-making. People need to know what to do differently, and the City Water Resilience Approach fills that gap, taking city water stakeholders through the key stages from system mapping, resilience assessment to option identification and prioritisation, whilst recognising all the complexities. The rigour and collaboration that sit behind it significantly enhance its value in practice.”

“The Resilience Shift believes that this approach has the potential to create genuine and lasting impact in cities globally and is delighted to have supported this work.”

“We are confident that the work developed by Arup, The Global Resilient Cities Network (GRCN), the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the partner cities will provide a new lens with which to understand and strengthen urban water resilience.”


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