Rob Hope (School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford) gives a talk on institutional innovations and new financial models for sustainable water as part of a seminar series on the Future of Cities.
Abstract: Any notion of a sustainable city is premised on a secure water supply for human, productive and ecosystem demands. With global urban residents now out-numbering rural dwellers, urban water delivery systems are creaking and leaking under decades of under-investment, new competitive demands, reduced revenue streams, and increasingly scarce and variable water resources. The political economy of water supply means decision-making is challenged by balancing social, political, economic, technical, legal, financial and environmental concerns which often leads to paralysis. In the absence of effective reform and action, millions of people in developing countries are left without adequate water services resulting in avoidable but high daily and life-cycle costs. We examine institutional innovations and new financial models piloted by cities to secure water supplies whilst protecting water ecosystems and how progressive reform may hit the elusive and moving targets of increasing supply coverage rates, at reduced cost and lower water volume delivery.