Water and Sustainable Urban Development

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Water and Sustainable Urban Development
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Haman, Dorota Z.
University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
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"Original publication date April, 1994. Reviewed July, 2002"
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AE248 Water and Sustainable Urban Development1 Adapted by: Dorota Z. Haman and Donald A. Brown2 1. This document is AE248, one of a series of the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date April, 1994. Reviewed July, 2002. Visit the EDIS Web Site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. 2. Dorota Z. Haman, Associate Professor, Agricultural Engineering Department; Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville FL 32611, Donald A. Brown, Pennsylvania Representative at the Earth Summit, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Resources. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Employment Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences / University of Florida / Larry R. Arrington, Interim Dean THE RELEVANCE OF CHAPTER 18 OF THE AGENDA 21 FOR STATE GOVERNMENTS PROTECTION OF THE QUALITY AND SUPPLY OF FRESHWATER RESOURCES: APPLICATION OF INTEGRATED APPROACHES TO THE DEVELOPMENT, MANAGEMENT AND USE OF WATER RESOURCES INTRODUCTION In 1987, the UN World Commission on Environment and Development linked the issue of environmental protection to global environmental economic growth and development. Headed by Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, this commission published the report Our Common Future. The Brundtland Commission report concluded that the world was threatened by extraordinarily serious global environmental problems, caused in large part by development patterns that were leaving increasing numbers of people poor. Scientific evidence demonstrated rapid destruction of air, water, species of flora and fauna, deserts, forests, and other ecosystems as well as overuse of natural resources. It is predicted that the world population will more than double during the next century. As a result, a new development pattern is required for the entire planet that would "sustain" human development. The Brundtland Commission report thrust the concept of "sustainable development" into the mainstream of world debate, as the only manner to confront the twin problems of environmental degradation and necessary economic development. The need for sustainable development applies to both developing as well as developed nations of the earth. The developing world needs sustainable development to avoid the environmental destruction entailed by moving billions of the poorest people on earth to basic levels of human health and dignity. The developed nations must move to sustainable development to avoid environmental catastrophe entailed by the developed world's depletion of natural resources and its destruction of air, water, and the natural environment. In December 1989, the General Assembly of the United Nations called for a meeting of all the nations of the Earth to confront the twin problems of environmental destruction and the necessity of


Water and Sustainable Urban Development 2 sustainable development. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was set for June of 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Rio Earth Summit was the largest international meeting in history. During the meeting five documents were signed. The first two, the Conventions on Climate Change and Biodiversity, received most of the publicity in the United States, largely because of the role played by the United States in perceived weakening of the first and the refusal to sign the second. Other documents signed at Rio were the Rio Declaration, a nonbinding set of 27 principles that deal with the rights and responsibilities of nations relating to environment and development, and Forest Principles Agreement, a nonbinding statement of principles for the sustainable management of global forests. Not widely publicized in the United States was the main substantive work of the Earth Summit, Agenda 21, the fifth document signed at Rio. Agenda 21 is a comprehensive blueprint for global action into the 21st century designed to solve the twin problems of environmental destruction and the necessity of sustainable development. It is an 800 page document comprising four sections and 40 chapters. Agenda 21 is based on the notion that humanity has reached a defining moment in its history. The nations of the earth cannot continue present policies that deepen economic divisions between rich and poor and that are causing the continued deterioration of the ecosystems on which we depend for life on earth. If the peoples of the world are to avoid environmental catastrophe they must move to implement policies and practices of sustainable development. Even though Agenda 21 is not binding on the signatory nations, it is expected to work as a set of normative principles that will determine appropriate international behavior in the next century. A new commission on sustainable development has been set up in the United Nations to review the efforts of the nations of the world to implement Agenda 21. In agreeing to Agenda 21 the nations of the earth have agreed to develop plans implementing Agenda 21 at the national, state, and local level. Agenda 21 calls for 2,500 specific actions. Agenda 21 addresses the pressing problems of today and also aims at preparing the world for the challenges of the next century. It reflects a global consensus and political commitment at the highest level on development and environment cooperation. Its successful implementation is first and foremost the responsibility of governments. National strategies, plans, policies, and processes are crucial in achieving this. International cooperation should support and supplement such national efforts. In this context, the United Nations systems has a key role to play. Other international, regional, and subregional organizations are also called upon to contribute to this effort. The broadest public participation and the active involvement of the non-governmental organizations and other groups should also be encouraged. The program areas that constitute Agenda 21 are described in terms of the basis for action, objectives, activities, and means of implementation. Agenda 21 is a dynamic program. It will be carried out by the various actors according to the different situations, capacities, and priorities of countries and in full respect of all the principles contained in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. It could evolve over time in the light of changing needs and circumstances. This process marks the beginning of a new global partnership for sustainable development. Freshwater resources are an essential component of the earth's hydrosphere and an indispensable part of all terrestrial ecosystems. The freshwater environment is characterized by the hydrological cycle, including floods, and droughts, which in some regions have become more extreme and dramatic in their consequences. Global climatic change and atmospheric pollution could also have an impact on freshwater resources and their availability and, through sea-level rise, threaten low-lying coastal areas and small island ecosystems. Water is needed in all aspects of life. The general objective is to make certain that adequate supplies of water of good quality are maintained for the entire population of this planet, while preserving the hydrological, biological, and chemical functions of ecosystems, adapting human activities within the capacity limits of nature and combating vectors of


Water and Sustainable Urban Development 3 water-related diseases. Innovative technologies, including the improvement of indigenous technologies, are needed to fully utilize limited water resources and to safeguard those resources against pollution. The widespread scarcity, gradual destruction and aggravated pollution of freshwater resources in many world regions, along with the progressive encroachment of incompatible activities, demand integrated water resources planning and management. Such integration must cover all types of interrelated freshwater bodies, including both surface water and groundwater, and duly consider water quantity and quality aspects. The multisectoral nature of water resources development in the context of socio-economic development must be recognized, as well as the multi-interest utilization of water resources for water supply and sanitation, agriculture, industry, urban development, hydropower generation, inland fisheries, transportation, recreation, low and flat lands management, and other activities. Rational water utilization schemes for the development of surface and underground water supply sources and other potential sources have to be supported by concurrent water conservation and wastage minimization measures. Priority, however, must be accorded to flood prevention and control measures, as well as sedimentation control, where required. Transboundary water resources and their use are of great importance to riparian states. In this connection, cooperation among those states may be desirable in conformity with existing agreements and/or other relevant arrangements, taking into account the interests of all riparian states concerned. The following program areas are proposed for the freshwater sector: (a) Integrated water resources development and management; (b) Water resources assessment; (c) Protection of water resources, water quality and aquatic ecosystems; (d) Drinking-water supply and sanitation; (e) Water and sustainable urban development; (f) Water for sustainable food production and rural development; (g) Impacts of climate change on water resources. This publication lists only those sections of Chapter 18 that deal with water and sustainable urban development. It addresses planning responsibilities at the state level. The sections which deal only with national or international responsibilities or problems are not addressed in this publication. The original numbering system of Agenda 21 has been retained so that anyone wishing to compare this document with the full Agenda 21 may easily refer to numbered paragraphs. WATER AND SUSTAINABLE URBAN DEVELOPMENT Basis For Action 18.56. Early in the next century, more than half of the world's population will be living in urban areas. By the year 2025, that proportion will have risen to 60 per cent, comprising some 5 billion people. Rapid urban population growth and industrialization are putting severe strains on the water resources and environmental protection capabilities of many cities. Special attention needs to be given to the growing effects of urbanization on water demands and usage and to the critical role played by local and municipal authorities in managing the supply, use and overall treatment of water, particularly in developing countries for which special support is needed. Scarcity of freshwater resources and the escalating costs of developing new resources have a considerable impact on national industrial, agricultural, and human settlement development and economic growth. Better management of urban water resources, including the elimination of unsustainable consumption patterns, can make a substantial contribution to the alleviation of poverty and improvement of the health and quality of life of the urban and rural poor. A high proportion of large urban agglomerations are located around estuaries and in coastal zones. Such an arrangement leads to pollution


Water and Sustainable Urban Development 4 from municipal and industrial discharges combined with overexploitation of available water resources and threatens the marine environment and the supply of freshwater resources. Objectives 18.57. The development objective of this program is to support local and central Governments' efforts and capacities to sustain national development and productivity through environmentally sound management of water resources for urban use. Supporting this objective is the identification and implementation of strategies and actions to ensure the continued supply of affordable water for present and future needs and to reverse current trends of resource degradation and depletion. 18.58. All states, according to their capacity and available resources, and through bilateral or multilateral cooperation, including the United Nations and other relevant organizations, could set the following targets: (a) By the year 2000, to have ensured that all urban residents have access to at least 40 liters per capita per day of safe water and that 75 per cent of the urban population are provided with on-site or community facilities for sanitation; (b) By the year 2000, to have established and applied quantitative and qualitative discharge standards for municipal and industrial effluents; (c) By the year 2000, to have ensured that 75 per cent of solid waste generated in urban areas is collected and recycled or disposed of in an environmentally safe way. Activities 18.59. All states, according to their capacity and available resources, and through bilateral or multilateral cooperation, including the United Nations and other relevant organizations, could implement the following activities: (a) Protection of water resources from depletion, pollution, and degradation: (1) Introduction of sanitary waste disposal facilities based on environmentally sound low-cost, and upgradable technologies; (2) Implementation of urban storm-water runoff and drainage programs; (3) Promotion of recycling and reuse of waste water and solid wastes; (4) Control of industrial pollution sources to protect water resources; (5) Protection of watersheds with respect to depletion and degradation of their forest cover and from harmful upstream activities; (6) Promotion of research into the contribution of forests to sustainable water resources development; (7) Encouragement of the best management practices for the use of agrochemicals with a view to minimizing their impact on water resources; (b) Efficient and equitable allocation of water resources: (1) Reconciliation of city development planning with the availability and sustainability of water resources; (2) Satisfaction of the basic water needs of the urban population; (3) Introduction of water tariffs, considering the circumstances in each country and where affordable, that reflect the marginal and opportunity cost of water, especially for productive activities; (c) Institutional/legal/management reforms: (1) Adoption of a citywide approach to the management of water resources; (2) Promotion at the national and local level of the elaboration of land-use plans that give due consideration to water resources development;


Water and Sustainable Urban Development 5 (3) Utilization of the skills and potential of non-governmental organizations, the private sector and local people, taking into account the public's and strategic interests in water resources; (d) Promotion of public participation: (1) Initiation of public-awareness campaigns to encourage the public's move towards rational water utilization; (2) Sensitization of the public to the issue of protecting water quality within the urban environment; (3) Promotion of public participation in the collection, recycling, and elimination of wastes; (e) Support to local capacity-building: (1) Development of legislation and policies to promote investments in urban water and waste management, reflecting the major contribution of cities to national economic development; (2) Provision of seed money and technical support to the local handling of material supplies and services; (3) Encouragement, to the extent possible, of autonomy and financial viability of city water, solid waste, and sewage utilities; (4) Creation and maintenance of a cadre of professionals and semiprofessionals, for water, waste-water and solid waste management; (f) Provision of enhanced access to sanitary services: (1) Implementation of water, sanitation and waste management programs focused on the urban poor; (2) Making available of low-cost water-supply and sanitation technology choices; (3) Basing of choice of technology and service levels on user preferences and willingness to pay; (4) Mobilization and facilitation of the active involvement of women in water management teams; (5) Encouragement and equipment of local water associations and water committees to manage community water-supply systems and communal latrines, with technical backup available when required; (6) Consideration of the merits and practicality of rehabilitating existing malfunctioning systems and of correcting operation and maintenance inadequacies. Means of Implementation Scientific and technological means 18.61. The 1980s saw considerable progress in the development and application of low-cost water-supply and sanitation technologies. The program envisages continuation of this work, with particular emphasis on development of appropriate sanitation and waste disposal technologies for low-income high-density urban settlements. There should also be international information exchange, to ensure a widespread recognition among sector professionals of the availability and benefits of appropriate low-cost technologies. The public-awareness campaigns will also include components to overcome user resistance to second-class services by emphasizing the benefits of reliability and sustainability. Human Resource Development 18.62. Implicit in virtually all elements of this program is the need for progressive enhancement of the training and career development of personnel at all levels in sector institutions. Specific program activities will involve the training and retention of staff with skills in community involvement, low-cost technology, financial management, and integrated planning of urban water resources management. Special provision should be made for mobilizing and


Water and Sustainable Urban Development 6 facilitating the active participation of women, youth, indigenous people, and local communities in water management teams and for supporting the development of water associations and water committees, with appropriate training of such personnel as treasurers, secretaries, and caretakers. Special education and training programs for women should be launched with regard to the protection of water resources and water quality within urban areas. Capacity-Building 18.63. In combination with human resource development, strengthening of institutional, legislative, and management structures are key elements of the program. A prerequisite for progress in enhancing access to water and sanitation services is the establishment of an institutional framework that ensures that the real needs and potential contributions of currently unserved populations are reflected in urban development planning. The multisectoral approach, which is a vital part of urban water resources management, requires institutional linkages at the national and city levels, and the program includes proposals for establishing intersectoral planning groups. Proposals for greater pollution control and prevention depend for their success on the right combination of economic and regulatory mechanisms, backed by adequate monitoring, and surveillance and supported by enhanced capacity to address environmental issues on the part of local governments. 18.64. Establishment of appropriate design standards, water-quality objectives, and discharge consents are among the proposed activities. The program also includes support for strengthening the capability of water and sewerage agencies and for developing their autonomy and financial viability. Operation and maintenance of existing water and sanitation facilities have been recognized as entailing a serious shortcoming in many countries. Technical and financial support are needed to help countries correct present inadequacies and build up the capacity to operate and maintain rehabilitated and new systems.