Major storms and aging infrastructure regularly reveal the extent of work cities need to do on water management, and the new lens of resilience they must use for it. The World Resources Institute predicts that by 2030, the number of people affected by flooding could triple to 54 million, with an attendant fivefold economic cost, amounting to $521 billion in annual GDP financial disruptions.

The social, economic, and public health implications of water management extend far beyond flooding – according to the World Health Organization, at least 1.8 billion people currently use contaminated drinking water, which can transmit cholera, dysentery, typhoid, polio, and diarrhea. Furthermore, by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas, and they will increasingly be concentrated in cities.

Resilient cities are looking to collaborate with companies that understand this and can offer dynamic water management solutions that will enable a city to thrive in the face of these multi-faceted water challenges.


The twenty resilience strategies published to date indicate a wide-reaching demand for water management tools and services:

  • Flooding Solutions: 17 cities, 35 total initiatives (these include coastal and river flooding, with many demands for innovative stormwater infrastructure).

  • Multifunctional Green Infrastructure: 10 cities, 10 total initiatives.

  • Secure Access to Potable Water: 6 cities, total 11 Initiatives.

Demands for resilient water management options from our cities include:

  • Multi-purpose green infrastructure (GI) that controls flooding, repurposes rain-water and beautifies the city.
    Berkeley; Bristol; Glasgow; Medellin; Mexico City; New York; Oakland; Semarang

  • Innovative infrastructure for wastewater treatment plants.
    Byblos; Da Nang

  • Adaptive waterfront development and climate resilient critical infrastructure.
    Norfolk; Rotterdam

  • Floating structures that help combat severe flooding.
    Mexico City; Norfolk; Rotterdam



Resilience R&D: Innovative Plans and Solutions for Water Management

Cleaner Water Tool | 100RC & Veolia

100RC is currently collaborating with our Platform Partner, Veolia, to develop a tool for addressing one of the world’s most fundamental public health concerns: access to clean water. Many cities recognize the social and economic value of potable water, but are unable to secure the capital required to provide it to all of their citizens. In response to this urban challenge, 100RC is partnering with Veolia to develop the Cleaner Water Tool, which aims to first measure the co-benefits of projects that improve drinking water quality and then to identify financing structures that leverage the monetary value of those co-benefits to encourage investment.

Public Water Plazas to Prevent Flooding & Foster Social Cohesion | Mexico City & Deltares

In 2015, Mexico City and 100RC Platform Partner Deltares began a collaboration on water plazas that has since led to a much larger scope of work in the city’s unique zone of Xochimilco, a residential and agricultural area threaded with islands and canals. Under normal weather conditions, the planned water plazas will operate like any other public square, where people meet, spend time, and attend special events. During rainstorms, water from surrounding streets will be directed into the squares, which have been specially engineered for pooling and draining. The French Development Bank is already funding Phase I of Deltares’ plan for Xochimilco, while 100RC’s partner Rebuild by Design (RBD) is leading a community engagement process to ensure that the water plazas not only provide catchment areas to control flooding, but also promote social cohesion and appealing public spaces.

Watershed Work & Flood Prevention | Paris & Amec Foster Wheeler

After the destructive floods of 2016, Paris began to rethink its relationship to the Seine. With 100RC Platform Partner Amec Foster Wheeler, the city has launched a comprehensive study of its natural watershed, which is situated well outside the city’s boundaries. Through satellite mapping and analysis of land use and topography, the project will identify key zones upstream of Paris where land restoration would improve water retention and reduce the flow of water into the city, thereby mitigating the severity of floods.

Green Infrastructure & Street Improvement Projects | Berkeley

To control flooding and make its stormwater infrastructure more resilient, the city of Berkeley in California, USA has begun to install numerous Green Infrastructure (GI) projects. Unlike conventional stormwater infrastructure, GI can create multiple benefits beyond flood mitigation, including protecting ecosystems by removing pollutants, beautifying a neighborhood, and, potentially, enabling the capture and use of stormwater for other purposes.


Explore the Report






Explore another recent 100RC report: Resilience in Action which details ways in which cities are institutionalizing resilience.