Urban Water Atlas for Europe Published

The European Commission has published the Urban Water Atlas for Europe.

The Urban Water Atlas stems from a collaboration of the European Commission’s in-house science service — the Joint Research Centre — with Fundació CTM Centre Tecnològic, the KWR Watercycle Research Institute, the European Innovation Partnership on Water, and the Network for Water in European Regions and Cities, NETWERC H2O.

Detailed factsheets in the Urban Water Atlas for Europe present the state of water management in more than 40 European cities and regions, together with a number of overseas examples.

The Urban Water Atlas for Europe presents scientific and technical information in an intuitive and creative way, making it easy for everyone to understand what is at stake and act accordingly.

The atlas is one of the results of the BlueSCities project, funded by Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme.

The atlas provides an overall ‘City Blueprint’ for each city. This is a composite index that displays 25 indicators related to water, waste and climate change in one infographic, summarising at a glance how well a city currently manages its urban water resources. The ‘Blue City Index’ is the overall score based on these 25 indicators.

Of the researched cities, Amsterdam has the highest Blue City Index score. The municipality pays a lot of attention to quality of life and has an ambitious climate and energy programme.

The atlas also presents cities’ ‘Urban Water Footprint’, a measure of domestic water use as well as water use embodied in agricultural products consumed. It aims to raise awareness of the large amount of water used to produce food and the striking difference in water needs among different diets.

The Urban Water Atlas for Europe comes with two online tools that can help cities manage water more sustainably. The City Blueprint is an interactive tool to support strategic decision-making by making it easy to access and understand relevant results and expert knowledge. The tool can present up to 25 different aspects of water management to give an overview of a city’s strong and weak points, and provides tailor-made options for making urban water services more sustainable.

The City Amberprint is a tool for assessing a city’s progress towards becoming smart and sustainable. The indicators take into account the city’s environmental impact, quality of life, risks (e.g. interruption of service provision), and actions taken by the city to improve all three. These indicators can be used to evaluate the current state of sustainability in cities, inform decision-makers and politicians about the current situation in the city, inform citizens and facilitate public engagement.