Water-wise approaches for circular cities – lessons learned from Amsterdam.

Paper ID: 
ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) and circular economy
Published under CEST2023
Proceedings ISBN:
Proceedings ISSN: 2944-9820
(Corresponding) Miranda A., Fidélis T., Roebeling P., Meireles I.
Under a constantly changing world, the environmental costs of increasing urbanization and associated water challenges, prioritized the circular economy on political agendas. Simultaneously, water-wise-cities initiatives, seeking sustainable and resilient communities, started to emerge. Synergies between these two concepts are, however, poorly explored in the literature. They can be influenced by legislation, stakeholders’ perceptions and associated networks, among others. Driven by the work of the project Water-wise Cities from the International Water Association, this article builds a conceptual model merging the principles of circular cities and the principles of water-wise cities. This model is then applied in the case of Amsterdam, by assessing current circular economy strategies and related municipal policies to understand how cities are adopting circularity while becoming water-wise. The assessment used a brief content analysis of the current circular initiatives and how these can be part of a transition into a water-wise city. The developed conceptual model has proven to be able to identify the key areas where further intervention is needed to attain a circular and water wise city. The study displayed a water-wise community where many collaborative networks between public administration entities, entrepreneurs and citizens are in place, which create a robust potential for synergetic urban initiatives. Within the water sphere, their focus is mainly on flood risk management and resilient infrastructures, while lesser attention is given to circularity concerns. However, a few circular actions are identified in the water-sensitive design and the regenerative water approaches dimensions, such as the decentralization of wastewater treatment systems, the reuse and recovery of organic residues and the integration of water-sensitive nature-based solutions. Legislation and project upscaling constrains were identified as barriers hindering opportunities to mainstream circular solutions. Overall, there is still room for developments in the basin connected cities’ dimension.
circular city, conceptual model, policy, water-wise city