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.

You can now download the step by step methodology to enable you to use the City Water Resilience Approach [See CWRA Resources).

It was shared at this August’s World Water Week 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden and Eleanor Earl, Project Leader for the Resilience Shift’s work on water resilience, shares some further reflections from this session.

The Resilience Shift brought together leading water resilience practitioners to showcase their approaches to water resilience in a session on Improving water resilience from diagnosis to delivery.

Participants examined how resilience can be embedded in the water system, the use of tools to enable this, with these discussions illustrated through topical case studies. They highlighted the challenges and opportunities for shifting water resilience from theory to practice in cities, water utilities and industry.

Hardeep Anand, Deputy Director, Miami Dade County Water and Sewer Department, stressed the importance of a common approach to water governance – viewing it through one, rather than many, lenses. Louise Ellis, Associate at Arup, illustrated this through the City Water Resilience Approach showing how decision-makers in government, civil society and the private sector can work together to build water resilience at the urban scale.

Collaboration was a key theme of World Water Week and Katrin Bruebach, Associate Director of Solutions Development and Innovation for Urban Water, 100 Resilient Cities, captured this ambition neatly with her statement that “resilience can unite us”.

Trevor Bishop, Strategy and Planning Director at Water Resources South East, questioned whether we are “over planning and underthinking”. Trevor suggested that the use of more stochastic models, rather than deterministic, could improve resilience. “Resilience is more complex than building a new reservoir” said Trevor. “Resilience in the round should be considered, through systems thinking approaches”.

Many of the sessions at World Water Week stressed the need for longer-term thinking. Maria Angelica Sotomayor, Practice Manager for Africa Region, World Bank, suggested that “everything we do should be resilient otherwise there is no long-term narrative”.

Dr Fred Boltz introduces the City Water Resilience Approach as the most advanced work in the field of urban water resilience diagnosis and design. He sets it in the context of the water resilience and climate crisis challenges faced by our planet and recognised by the Global Commission on Adaptation.

Louise Ellis talks us through the City Water Resilience Approach as the most advanced work in the field of urban water resilience diagnosis and design. She explains the five core principles behind it, the collaborative partners behind its development, the cities involved, and the robust peer-reviewed process the followed. She explained how it has now been implemented in the first two cities, Cape Town and Greater Miami.

Louise Ellis talks us through the five steps of the City Water Resilience Approach methodology as the most advanced work in the field of urban water resilience diagnosis and design. Finally she announces a call to action to create an urban water resilience community of practice.

View presentation slides:

A clear need was highlighted for a new ecosystem of professionals, from a variety of disciplines, working together towards building resilient futures through water.

At this session, we announced a global call to action inviting organisations to get involved in a Community of Practice for urban water resilience. Founding partners are the Resilience Shift, the Global Commission on Adaptation, Arup, the Stockholm International Water Institute, the International Water Association, 100 Resilient Cities, Deltares, One Water Academy and the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation.

Next steps for this work:

  • The City Water Resilience Approach is now implemented in Cape Town and Greater Miami, with Action Plans to be published shortly.
  • More information will be published shortly about the plans for the Community of Practice for urban water resilience.

The Resilience Shift would like to thank all speakers and their respective organisers, and co-conveners Arup and SIWI, for collaboration on and input to key sessions at this year’s very successful Stockholm World Water Week.

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