The Future of Urban Water workshops: Metro Manila, the Philippines and Sao Paulo

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The Future of Urban Water programme depicts four plausible scenarios for the future of urban water in 2040. Using Manila and São Paulo as reference cities in 2015 and through a series of workshops, this internal R&D project explored how a wide range of social, technological, economic, environmental and political trends, along with the impact of climate change, could shape our urban water future. In times of increasing uncertainty — and with a future likely to be utterly different from the world we are experiencing today — the scenarios have helped stakeholders better understand possible pathways into the future and enabled conversations about how we can influence and shape the direction of travel.

Key features

The Manila workshop focused on the current situation, future challenges and emerging opportunities for how water is managed in the Philippines and Metro Manila. The session was attended by over 50 delegates from public sector bodies, developers, contractors, utilities and other stakeholders from industry and academia. Key themes that emerged in the workshop included:

  • The long-term impacts and uncertainties around population growth and demographic change
  • The need for greater climate change resilience
  • A more coordinated and integrated approach across the large number of city departments, districts and agencies
  • Local communities could become more autonomous in delivering solutions

Although São Paulo is not considered to be located in a water scarce location, exceptional drought in consecutive years and high temperatures have resulted in water levels in key reservoir systems to drop to less than 10% of their capacity. The workshop, which was attended by 35 participants from the water authority, public sector bodies, civil society and academia, prioritised the key drivers of change for water and explored future pathways to a more sustainable future.

Key recommendations included the need for long-term strategic planning to respond to climate change impacts, improved water governance and water resource management and the creation of opportunities to involve the population in decision-making, water demand management and the development of local solutions.

Download the Sao Paulo report in Portuguese (.PDF, 24MB)