Water Engineering and Development Centre

Urban water management

SWITCH: Managing water for the city of the future

Location Client Dates Value
Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe European Union - DG Research (Framework 6) 2006-2011 €22 million

WEDC staff involved:

Summary of project activities and outcomes:

SWITCH was the European Commission’s largest Framework 6 project related to the water sector with a budget exceeding €20 million. It involved an implementing consortium of 33 partners from 15 countries undertaking 22 work packages. SWITCH won the IWA’s Sustainability Award 2012 for ‘innovation in the practical realization of sustainable urban water management’.

The main goal of SWITCH was to find new solutions to increase the efficiency of urban water systems through rethinking old paradigms and developing new solutions. To achieve this goal SWITCH improved the scientific basis and shared knowledge to ensure that future water systems are robust, flexible and adaptable to a range of global change pressures.

The SWITCH project included:

  • Cities in four continents and at various stages of development
  • All aspects of the water cycle – water, wastewater, stormwater and natural systems
  • A wide range of climatic, socio-economic and institutional situations
  • Social, economic and environmental perspectives
  • Scales ranging from household to city levels
  • Water as part of urban planning and the built environment
  • From the present time to the ‘City of the Future’

WEDC was the leader for Work Package 3.1 on Water Demand Management, with partners from Netherlands and Spain. The work package included the development and testing of holistic demand management tools and training materials, encompassing commercial and physical aspects, with the aim of reducing water losses.

WEDC also led dissemination activities in Work Package 0.2 (Dissemination and Training), including preparation of dissemination strategy and plan, co-ordination of dissemination by all consortium members, direct preparation of material and dissemination activities, monitoring and evaluation of dissemination. Over the five years of SWITCH, a wealth of information was produced which can be accessed through the online resource database.

Partners include: UNESCO-IHE (coordinator) and a consortium of 32 partners including Zaragoza City Council (Spain) and CEDARE (Egypt).

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