Water sensitive city

Water sensitive city

About the Thematic Area

Rapid urban growth in European cities has led to significant artificial land cover, which in some cities has greatly increased the effects of rainwater runoff. This phenomenon, combined with the effects of climate change, including increased precipitation alternating with droughts, can lead to significant flood risks. In the EU context, several ongoing developments within cities contribute to the pressing issues of water scarcity and floods, which pose challenges to sustainable urban development (Climate Change, Ageing infrastructure, Land-use changes, inefficient water management practices, lack of integrated approaches).

To address these challenges, a multi-level governance approach could help improve and create tools, measures and governance mechanisms to help implementing sustainable urban drainage systems, reusing water, set up storage systems promoting water conservation measures, to build models of water sensitive urban management and promote integrated approaches.

Ex-Ante Assessment

Before the Thematic Partnership is ready to take off, it is important to explore the theme and define the scope of the partnership. What exists and what has been done already on these themes? What are the challenges and the opportunities? This is done through an Ex-Ante Assessment (EAA), an evidence-based research report, written by external experts on each of the topics. Once the experts have written the report, it must be officially endorsed by the Directors General Meeting on Urban Matters (DGUM). The DGUM will take place in June 2024 and gathers representatives from the European Commission, Member States, the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and relevant urban networks and umbrella organisations.

Call for Thematic Partnerships

Once endorsed the European Urban Initiative on behalf of the European Commission will launch the call for Thematic Partnership partners. It is foreseen that the call will be open from August to October, leaving interested partners enough time to apply after the summer period. Once the call is closed, the applications are carefully assessed by the EAA experts taking into consideration the diversity of stakeholders, the geographical location in Europe and the variety of size of urban authorities. Once approved by the DGUM in the autumn of 2024, the Thematic Partnerships on Water Sensitive City and Housing Decarbonisation, Heating and Cooling Local Plans will be launched and ready to kick-off in early 2025.