IWA Publishing

Water and the city: exploring links between urban growth and water demand management

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Urban water management is currently understood as a socio-technical problem, including both technologies and engineering interventions as well as socioeconomic dimensions and contexts vis-à-vis both end users and institutions. In this framework, perhaps the most important driver of urban water demand, at the intersection between engineering, social and economic domains, is urban growth. This paper examines aspects of the interplay between the dynamics of urban growth and the urban water cycle. Specifically, a cellular automata urban growth model is re-engineered to provide growth patterns at the level of detail needed by an urban water cycle model. The resulting toolkit is able to simulate spatial changes in urban areas while simultaneously estimating their water demand impact under different water demand management scenarios, with an emphasis on distributed technologies whose applicability depends on urban form. The method and tools are tested in the case study of Mesogeia, Greece, and conclusions are drawn, regarding both the performance of the urban growth model and the effectiveness of different urban water management practices.

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