Keywords: models, resource management, sustainable city, urban development, water resources
Perceptions of the sustainable city and implications for fresh water resources management
Following the emergence of sustainable development as a key environmental management concept in the late 1980s, much discussion and debate has occurred on how the general concept can be understood in the context of particular resources, economic sectors and fields of academic study. This paper attempts to integrate two such particular areas of study, urban development and fresh water resources management. Following an overview of the concept of sustainable development, where the fresh water resource base is used to illustrate different interpretations of sustainability, the paper advances a number of perceptions of the sustainable city and the implications for fresh water management. Key concepts that emerge include a need to reduce the urban ecological sphere of influence, best understood in the context of a quasi-autonomous vision of the sustainable city, requiring a radical shift away from "engineering-fix" water supply augmentation towards demand management and other approaches that sit more easily with the prime need to maintain the functional integrity of ecosystems.