This paper applies the water footprint methodology to six megacities across Africa, Asia, and Latin America to explore the effect of urbanization on water use and demand and determine what measures need to be taken to meet this demand. Key threats to water resources in many or all of the cities studied include: water stress or scarcity, pollution and decreasing water quality, and vulnerability to extreme weather caused by climate change.
- National adoption of multi-sectoral water and wastewater management is critical in order to ensure that cities protect and restore important ecosystems.
- Reducing wastewater consumption requires sustainable wastewater management that supports peri-urban agriculture.
- Cities should conduct vulnerability and water risk assessments in urban and peri-urban areas, with involvement by local stakeholders, to inform long-term resiliency.
- Financing for water infrastructure should involve institutionalizing payment and cost recovery systems.
- Local urban planning should be encouraged to incorporate green infrastructure and low-impact development, including rain gardens, capture-and-use systems, and urban agriculture.