Groundwater is a crucial resource for the resilient and sustainable development of nearly all cities in some way – whether as a key component resource in public water supply, to integrated flood risk management, potential renewable shallow geothermal heat, or roles in contamination pathways and ground stability. The roles and interactions of the resource with urban development are manifold and cross-cutting, but often are not addressed in a comprehensive way.
New urban planning approaches are necessary not only for cities to achieve key outcomes of improved health, low carbon growth, and environmental quality, but also to meet rates of urbanisation and mitigate increasing climatic variability. Current trajectories estimate the world’s urban population in 2050 will be equivalent of the world’s total population in 2004. Both the number and size of cities worldwide is growing, with highest rates of urban growth in Africa and Asia.
City Development Plans and National Planning policy are the key spatial strategies which will deliver our future cities around the world, in a wide variety of landscapes. It is essential these policies are developed with increased awareness of the role, and various interactions, groundwater can play in the urban context, alongside other environmental facets. This will require increased professional collaboration in city planning; and the realization of more effective evidence processes throughout city development processes. Both of these are vital to achieving more effective and pertinent cascades of information, and a prescient awareness of how groundwater can be best harnessed and managed to deliver future cities.
This presentation provides a review of some of the roles and interactions groundwater has across range different urban geographies; and, evaluates some of the different knowledge exchange approaches used in Europe to develop earlier cross-sectoral awareness of the roles of groundwater in cities. The presentation examines some new, emerging planning legislation and evidence processes in Europe; the lessons learnt so far; and the changing relationships and knowledge exchange required to support these.