As Infrastructure Week 2017 gets underway in the U.S., leading global water technology company Xylem Inc. released a white paper outlining strategies to increase the resilience of cities around the world.
According to the United Nations, 66 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050, posing a distinct and urgent need to create more resilient urban centers, capable of withstanding environmental challenges and natural disasters. Xylem’s publication, titled ‘Building Resilience: Creating Strong and Sustainable Cities and Communities’, identifies strengthening critical infrastructure as one of four core action areas to improve communities’ ability to withstand these risks.
“Increasing the resilience of cities is one of the most complex challenges facing public leaders around the world,” said Patrick Decker, president and CEO of Xylem. “Many cities are confronting a “new normal” of weather volatility and aging infrastructure which threatens the critical networks upon which lives depend. Among those threats is a risk to the supply of clean and safe drinking water as well as critical energy services. By creating robust, intelligent systems that are engineered to withstand variability, cities can proactively protect members of their growing populations for years to come.”
“We welcome the focus that Infrastructure Week activities bring to the critical issue of urban resilience and hope that our white paper will provide a platform for meaningful dialogue. At Xylem, we are committed to addressing the world’s most pressing water challenges through partnership and collaboration. We stand ready to share our global experience with leaders around the world as they seek to build more resilient and sustainable cities.”
Xylem’s white paper identifies four categories of actions to support resilience building:
- Ensuring water security – As one-third of the world’s population experiences water scarcity at least one month per year, ensuing water security addresses the vital need for cities to supply clean water to the public continuously and reliably in all conditions.
- Strengthening critical infrastructure – Urban infrastructure relies on multiple networks to supply city dwellers with vital necessities, including water, food, energy, transportation and other services. Investments in the resilience of these vital systems can help cities reduce losses, ensure operational continuity and save lives.
- Driving response and recovery – Taking action to drive response and recovery efforts can lessen the severe impacts of disasters. By responding quickly in the aftermath of disasters – through rapid dewatering, diligent emergency services, and innovative reconstruction efforts – communities can save lives, time, and money.
- Engaging community stakeholders – By involving the public in resiliency planning and decisions, communities are empowered to better withstand unexpected climate events that affect their livelihoods and access to water.
Xylem’s publication also features a selection of case studies, highlighting services and solutions that are contributing to resilience-building efforts in cities and communities around the globe.