Cities and Water
Nature, hydrology and urban planning: City Center seminar with Dr. Yaron Zinger
Cities and Water
You are invited to TAU City Center's seminar
Dr. Yaron Zinger, Center for Water Sensitive Cities
Tuesday, December 18. 18:00-19:30 | Yad-Avner Building, room 115
Geography Dept. 10 Zelig St. (north to the campus), Tel Aviv University
Creating water sensitive cities: The challenge for Israeli cities
Israel is facing a range of critical pressures related to water security and urbanisation. Cities are rapidly expanding while experiencing critical water shortages and degradation of their aquifers and waterways. Israel will need to construct 13-15 new desalination plants in the next 40 years if we are to meet the projected urban water needs by 2050.
The Coastal aquifer that lies underneath our major cities is under threat from land-based anthropogenic pollution and seawater intrusion due to overexploitation, and there is a consensus that urgent action is required to assure its long term sustainability.
At the same time, public health is further threatened by urban heat island effects, as Israel cities become hotter due to climate change and rapid urbanisation. It is clear from IPCC projections that Israel will become 1-1.5 OC hotter in the next few decades, which is a significant rise from the current level. The annual rainfall is expected to decrease by 15% of current levels in the North and by 10-15% in the central regions of the country.
The coastline areas are an exception in regard to precipitation, where no decrease from the current levels is expected due to proximity to the Mediterranean Sea (which will become warmer). Moreover, the distribution of rain events will be less even, and it is expected that there will be lower number of events with higher intensity.
It is therefore clear that Israel cities must become resilient to climate and social pressures that confront them, if they are to assure long term economical and environmental sustainability of Israel.
Current centralised solutions to urban water management, whilst fundamental to the development of our cities to date, cannot solely provide the multiple benefits required for the future needs of our cities.
We thus must find new, more integrated solutions that address climate change, urban growth and pollution by delivering simultaneous benefits for water security, natural environment, and liveability of our cities.
Water sensitive cities as the solution: The way we manage urban water shapes almost every aspect of our urban environment and quality of life. A Water Sensitive City is one where water’s journey through the urban landscape is managed with regard to its origins and destinations, along with its social and spiritual significance.
Water Sensitive Cities adopt and combine decentralised and centralised water management solutions to deliver water security in both water-poor and water-abundant futures, healthy aquifers and urban streams, improvements in urban climates and landscapes, and a reduction in the city’s carbon footprint.
Stormwater harvesting is essential to the realisation of Water Sensitive Cities, because:
- Urban stormwater is a significant source of water, generated close to where it is needed.
- Uncontrolled stormwater runoff from urban areas pollutes beaches, shallow aquifers and waterways.
- Vegetated stormwater treatment facilities improve the urban micro-climate, reduce thermal stress and therefore aid public health.
- Stormwater harvesting using green infrastructure enhances social amenity and urban biodiversity.
- Stormwater harvesting systems is economical and can function with zero energy and zero maintenance.
Center for Water Sensitive Cities: https://wsc.org.il