Urban Water

Our vision of integrated urban water management (IUWM)

  • Adaptive, multi-functional and cost-efficient urban water infrastructure, integrated into the urban design and landscape
  • Effective and participatory governance of resilient water planning and management
Our Quick Scan Tool for Integrated Urban Water Management offers a novel method to assess the quality status of key urban water sectors and the extent to which urban water management follows an integrated approach.
Urban Water Challenges
Urban areas all over the world are exposed to a set of drivers and pressures affecting urban water management, including:
Urban growth and sprawl
Increase of heavy rainfalls and extended droughts due to climate change
Non-sustainable industrial and agricultural activities in urban areas and within catchment
Lack of funding for water infrastructure operation, maintenance, rehabilitation and extension
Unevenly distributed benefits of economic growth
The range of possible impacts resulting from these drivers and pressures concerns a number of different aspects, including:
Deteriorating water infrastructure
Water shortages
Overexploited, deteriorated groundwater aquifers in urban areas
Deteriorated protection of cities against floods
Difficulty to guarantee water quality standards
Financial losses due to floods and drought
Our integrated perspective
From our experience, improving urban flood risk management or increasing resilience of urban water supply systems cannot be tackled efficiently as a discrete problem.
The main reason is that urban water management challenges are strongly interconnected, both with the wider hydrological cycle and with the wider society and economy.
Therefore, we embrace a holistic, integrated perspective when addressing urban water challenges, considering for instance:
Infrastructural and operational interdependencies between different urban water sectors
Spatial interdependencies on catchment level, e.g. rural-urban linkages
Long-term development scenarios and climate change and their effects on urban water management
Different stakeholders in the water sectors, placed at different levels of jurisdiction within the governance system
Level of coordination between water sectors, in day-to-day business or as reflected in urban planning instruments
To support our clients, we pursue the following objectives:
Focus on the core questions
Focus on the status within three key water domains: water supply, wastewater management, and flood management
Focus on concrete problems which can be addressed with concrete measures
Contribute to informed decisions
Improve knowledge about the current state and its challenges within urban water domains and at their interfaces
Combining a participatory, self-reflecting method on the ground with international experiences of senior water experts
Increase urban resilience
Identify key fields of action to improve urban water management
Move from single-discipline-oriented water management towards water-sensitive and thus sustainable urban planning and water management
Increase resilience of urban infrastructure and social systems towards external shocks and developments
Quick Scan Tool
General approach of the Quick Scan Tool
Systematic, web-based questionnaire as the core assessment tool
Problem-focused questions
Focus on three key urban water domains: water supply, sanitation, and stormwater management
Establish current situation based on typical problems and its causes
Participatory validation of results and development of further steps
Key benefits for our clients
Quick but holistic analysis of the urban water management situation including the extent of an integrated approach
Provides immediate overview on key fields of action and related priority intervention topics or investments
Ideal starting point to initiate a transformation towards integrated urban water management
Requires limited time effort, depending on the service scope (see below)
Possibility of modular application of the Quick Scan Tool, e.g. only for one specific water domain
Adding value
The Quick Scan Tool can add value in the following ways:
To initiate or support a water sector analysis or evaluation
To verify the relevance of a project proposal or an investment plan
To complement a qualitative assessment, e.g. by a team of experts
To guide an interview as a comprehensive check-list
Screenshot of the Questionnaire
Screenshot of the Quick Scan Tool, by EBP Schweiz AG
Key Features of the Questionnaire
Mostly multiple-choice questions with ratings (based on a Likert scale)
User-friendly layout e.g. numerated questions and progress status
Often with possibility to provide justification for the answer, or to give a personal/customized answer
Possibility to provide relevant documents (through secure web upload) or enter information on a GIS application
Identify the best suited respondents
The respondents ...
should be different persons for each of the three water domains
should have a similar responsibility and seniority level within their organization.
need to be knowledgeable about their specific domain but also about the general urban water challenges in the particular urban area.
Apply the questionnaire correctly
The respondents ...
need to clearly understand the purpose of the exercise e.g. know how results will be used.
need to take 2 to 3 hours time per water domain to keep the focus on the questions. Taking a break is possible any time, the respondent can always continue from the last answered question.
require a sufficiently good internet connection, specifically when uploading support documentation or contributing information through the GIS interface.
Option 1 
Status Visualization
Step 1 - Questionnaire
Identify the three respondents
Provide respondents with instructions and credentials for the web-based questionnaire:
Respondent works through questionnaire alone; the respondent's questions can be answered by an EBP expert remotely
Respondent works through questionnaire together with an EBP expert; the respondent's questions can be answered immediately and supplementary information can be collected by the EBP expert
Step 2 - Status visualization
EBP determines the status of three urban water domains and the IUWM status with its Quick Scan Tool, based on the answers from the questionnaires.
Example "Water Supply"

The water supply status is described along 8 indicators which describe the system in a comprehensive way. The sanitation domain has 8 indicators, the stormwater domain 6 indicators.

The rating of each indicator is determined by a set of 15 to 20 distinct questions in the Quick Scan Tool.

High ratings equal a good status, low ratings a poor status.
Example "IUWM Status"

The IUWM status is described by 5 distinct indicators.

The rating of each indiactor is determined by a set of distinct questions in the Quick Scan Tool.

The IUWM status is assessed by each of the three repondents by responding to the exact same questions. Hence there are three ratings of each indicator.

Ratings illustrate the perceived level to which an integrated approach is currently pursued.
Option 1 
Status Visualization
Option 2 
Status Visualization
Validation Workshop
Fields of Action
Step 3 - Validation workshop
Propose priorities for the fields of action including key measures: within the three urban water domains and to improve the integrated approach
Discuss priorities and measures during a stakeholder workshop
Step 4 - Fields of action
Refine discussed priorities
Finalize a set of actionable measures in a set of key fields of actions, with a time frame of 5 to 10 years
Option 1 
Status Visualization
Option 2 
Status Visualization
Validation Workshop
Fields of Action
Option 3 
Status Visualization
Validation Workshop
Fields of Action
Roadmap Workshop
Step 5 - Roadmap
Propose strategic actions to define a roadmap towards a more integrated urban water management,
based on stakeholder interviews and possibly preparatory workshops
Step 6 - Roadmap workshop
Discuss implementation strategies during a stakeholder workshop
Finalize the outline of a sector roadmap document, with a time frame of 10 to 20 years

We will be pleased
to advise you.

Christian Willi

Risch Tratschin