The City Blueprint of Amsterdam: an assessment of integrated water resources management in the capital of the Netherlands

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

In this study the sustainability of integrated water resources management in Amsterdam has been reviewed using the City Blueprint approach. The City Blueprint® is a set of 24 dedicated indicators divided over eight categories, i.e., water security, water quality, drinking water, sanitation, infrastructure, climate robustness, biodiversity and attractiveness, and governance including public participation. In 2006 the various urban water-related services in Amsterdam were brought under one roof, culminating in the country's first water cycle company called Waternet. Waternet is responsible for surface water (rivers, canals, ditches and lakes), groundwater, stormwater, drinking water supply and waste water treatment. The city's unique water cycle approach has proved highly beneficial. Currently Amsterdam is the best performing city of the 30 cities assessed so far. This can be explained by: (1) a long-term vision and a multi-level water governance approach, (2) integration of water, energy and material flows (e.g., struvite production), (3) the entanglement between urban quality and water management, and (4) the transparent communication to and feed-back from customers, i.e., farmers and citizens. Surface water quality and biodiversity remain future challenges.

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