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David L. Feldman

In reviewing our findings, we conclude that throughout history cities have faced the twin challenges of too much – or too little – water at inopportune times. While these problems are predicted to become even more highly variable due to climate change (as well as varying from city to city), we focus on three ubiquitous needs for research. These include: first, the impact of climate extremes on cities – for which much work remains to be done on site-specific impacts and the relevance of low-impact developments and other methods to meet these threats. A second issue is the varied dimensions of vulnerability. This will require better consideration of baseline stressors caused by urbanization. The final research need we consider is a better understanding of the environmental justice implications of water conservation, IBR pricing, reuse and desalination.
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David L. Feldman

The aim of this chapter is: (1) to review historical transitions in water management with a specific focus on two cities central to our PIRE project (greater Melbourne and Los Angeles); (2) to provide an analysis of current and emerging water policy innovations and management approaches they employ; and (3) to draw generalizable lessons from these experiences. Our goal is to illuminate lessons for institutional and policy reform and technological innovation that can enhance water security in other cities. While Melbourne and Los Angeles are similar in some important water-related respects, they also differ in how they have confronted the challenges of climate variability and growth with regard to water. We consider similarities and differences in light of a framework for analyzing historical transitions to different philosophies of water management.
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David L. Feldman

We examine the different ways in which water is valued and how these values toward water are shaped by custom, primordial tradition and other non-market practices – as well as by markets. Non-economic values are important because they help explain how urban residents view their connections to water infrastructure, technology and daily practice. They also underscore various patterns of both water and energy consumption, and thus reflect deeper cultural and social habits and attitudes toward the environment. The role of economic factors in explaining urban water use and behaviors is also essential. How much should it cost us to obtain suitable amounts of water for various purposes? Another question might be: how should the price charged for obtaining this water be determined, and by whom? Various fees, charges, taxes and “trading schemes” have long been applied to the management of water supply, as well as to efforts to improve water quality by reducing pollution. We discuss how conservation, particularly in the residential sector in cities, has become an international challenge.
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David L. Feldman

Cities place enormous pressures on freshwater availability because they are often located some distance from the water sources needed by their populations. This compels them to build infrastructure to divert water from increasingly distant outlying rural areas, thus disrupting their social fabric and their environment. In addition, increasing urbanization due to population growth, economic change and sprawl places huge burdens upon the institutions as well as the infrastructure that delivers and treats urban water. Finally, the spatial “footprint” caused by sprawling horizontal urban development and annexation imposes numerous problems including paving of city streets and commercial districts (which contributes to pollutant runoff and diminished groundwater recharge); consumption of water for parks and outdoor residential use (increasing evapotranspiration and taxing local supplies); and urban waste discharges that affect local to global biogeochemical cycles and climate.
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David L. Feldman

The very existence of cities requires a supply of water from surrounding environs so as to make possible a large concentration of residents in a single place. This chapter examines urban water management in cities beginning with antiquity, starting in the Mediterranean world, in an effort to extract major lessons for achieving a water-sustainable city. These lessons may include learning from failures or controversial efforts to enhance local supplies. Historically, cities emerged as centers of commerce and trade when rural food production advanced to a stage sufficient to allow people to congregate in smaller, more hospitable places. Food production, of course, was reliant on a comparably sufficient supply of harnessed water – and cities themselves likewise awaited the ability to provide such supplies as a means of supporting larger and larger populations. Throughout history, cities have sought reliable, safe and plentiful supplies through infrastructural, economic, legal and political strategies.
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David L. Feldman

We focus on efforts to reduce water use through novel innovations such as direct household metering of water; variable rate structures that charge more for more volumes of water used by consumers; appliance efficiency; and mandatory water-appliance retrofitting or other mandatory conservation measures. We also examine outdoor as well as indoor practices. Finally, we also consider how these approaches – especially increasing bloc rate pricing – may burden economically disadvantaged groups by ignoring their ability to pay for water, or forcing them to install high-cost, lower water-using appliances – and what can be done about this.
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David L. Feldman

This chapter begins with a discussion of three theories that help explain how cities foster water conflicts with their neighbors and among themselves – the city as a growth machine, zero-sum conflict, and metropolitan nature. These theories help explain how urban water is controlled, under what conditions equity is jeopardized and why cities aspire to grow, and why additional infrastructure to draw water from remote regions is pursued. They also help us understand what changes in governance may be required to introduce innovations that can bring about a water-sensitive city. We then discuss novel governance arrangements that can foster and sustain this objective, especially much-heralded “polycentric” approaches, in Southern California, New York and Melbourne to see how well such approaches actually hold up, and whether the water-sensitive city is an achievable objective.
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David L. Feldman

This chapter examines the little explored problem of the urban stream syndrome – a condition in which the health of urban streams is poor. Notable symptoms of this stream syndrome include altered stream flow, morphology, water quality, and ecosystem structure and function. While underlying causes of the urban stream syndrome vary among watersheds, in general its hydrologic symptoms are associated with: replacing grassland and/or forests with impervious surfaces such as roads, parking lots, roofs and sidewalks; building drainage and flood control infrastructure to rapidly convey storm water runoff to streams (so-called formal drainage systems); and altering catchment water budgets (for example, through water imports and exports). Increasing imperviousness reduces infiltration and evapotranspiration of rainfall, while formal drainages increase the hydraulic connectivity between watersheds and streams.
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David L. Feldman

This chapter considers the “water anatomy” of cities. We discuss how, like living creatures with circulatory systems, every city has developed its own unique “plumbing” system with water supply and wastewater treatment infrastructure and elaborate systems of law and regulatory institutions to govern and manage these systems. We examine both anatomy and physiology by focusing on some urban examples that typify the range of both conventional and novel approaches to urban water management in our time. Our objective is to trace various ways in which cities seek to attain water resiliency. The principal lessons drawn come directly from our PIRE project and our investigations into measures adopted by Melbourne, Australia. However, we also examine two “megacities’ that have faced considerable challenges in managing their anatomy and physiology: Mexico City and Tokyo. We also consider how well they’ve achieved resilience – a top-down approach to management, versus adaptiveness, which emanates from the bottom up.
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David L. Feldman

This chapter considers how threats to human water security will require getting the most out of locally available water resources through minimizing, among other things, their energy footprint, and thus increasing its productivity. By improving productivity, communities enjoy the same goods and services, generate less wastewater, and leave more freshwater in streams, rivers, lakes and coastal estuaries to support biodiversity. Because less water is harvested, treated and transported, fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced and the water–energy footprint of cities is made smaller. We focus on three general strategies for improving water productivity: substituting higher-quality water with lower-quality water; regenerating higher-quality water from lower-quality water by treatment; and reducing the volume of higher-quality water used to generate goods and services.