Water Sensitive Cities Theory

In CATCH we use the Water Sensitive Cities (WSC) theory as the source of inspiration. The principles of this theory are derived from the Dutch Ecopolis model, further elaborated in Australia and are now developed into a theory usable also for Northern European situations. In the NSR, the UK is considered frontrunner in Water Sensitive Urban design. Also other cities and projects draw inspiration, like the Water Sensitive Rotterdam programme.

The WSC theory provides three principles that help cities to evolve from an engineered urban water system to an integrated adaptive and climate resilient water system. These principles are to capture measures, approaches and perspectives:

1. Cities as catchments:

The urban water system is often part of a larger catchment area. The intensive exploitation of the urban landscape resulted in the progressive decrease of the natural water system to the detriment of the surrounding region. The goal is to restore the water balance within these regions.

2. Ecological services:

The same water that poses the biggest threat to society also brings life and energy to the cities. Ecological services are the benefits that people derive from ecosystems. A river area for instance can be used multifunctional for flood protection, groundwater recharge, recreation and for the improvement of the quality of live.

3. Water sensitive communities and networks:

The implementation of integrated solutions requires improved perception of the benefits from decision makers, businesses and the public across multiple constituencies and levels of governance. Therefore collaboration is key. 


Water Sensitive Cities Theory Model


Read more about the WSC theory