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SWITCH in the city: putting urban water management to the test

Published on: 04/11/2011

The SWITCH project was a five year experiment focused on some of the key sustainability challenges in urban water management. In a number of cities around the globe, it set out to test what was needed for a transition to more sustainable urban water management through a combination of demand-led research, demonstration activities, multistakeholder learning and associated training and capacity building. The book brings together the experiences of twelve cities involved in the SWITCH project from four continents.

With more than half the planet's population living in urban areas, and rapid growth predicted, cities present a daunting test in water management. Their scale and concentrated populations provide a special challenge in providing water and sanitation services, creating a safe and pleasant environment, and handling wastes. As sustainability concerns have risen up the agenda, the challenge is for cities to do more, with less. To provide better services to all citizens, with less negative and more positive environment impacts on cities and their rural hinterlands. The SWITCH project was a five year experiment focused on some of the key sustainability challenges in urban water management. In a number of cities around the globe, it set out to test what was needed for a transition to more sustainable urban water management through a combination of demand-led research, demonstration activities, multistakeholder learning and associated training and capacity building. The book brings together the experiences of twelve cities involved in the SWITCH project from four continents (Accra, Alexandria, Beijing, Belo Horizonte, Birmingham, Bogotá, Cali, Hamburg, Lima, Lodz, Tel Aviv and Zaragoza) with a set of guidelines focused on promoting stakeholder engagement in such processes. It is targeted at people interested in undertaking demand-led research, promoting multi-stakeholder engagement, and scaling up research impacts, not only in urban water management but also in other areas where we find such complex and 'wicked' problems.