EBRD warns cities face climate stress on water resources


New report highlights widespread challenges to developing green cities.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has warned that the overuse of water resource and significant and growing climatic stresses are a major challenge for cities in which it operates.

Issuing a new report looking at the whole urban picture for green cities, it highlighted water as a major challenge area with high levels of “non-revenue” water use running alongside high levels of ongoing water pollution. The report also warned that contamination of land and groundwater was common as a result of inadequate management of municipal and industrial waste.

Water was one of the key policy challenges examined in the new report, Effective policy options for green cities, which has been published alongside the release of policy advice documents to help urban authorities rise to the challenge of greening of cities.

Elisabetta Falcetti, the EBRD’s director of sector economics and policy, explained: “Today, EBRD Green Cities is our largest investment programme, covering 44 cities in 22 countries, with more than €1.5bn mobilised by the EBRD and multiple donors for investments and technical support.”

Hosting more than half of the world’s population, cities are powerhouses of economic growth. They generate more than 80% of all global economic activity but also account for 70% of energy use and 60% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Along with major changes needed in how water and water pollution is managed across many cities, the report noted other problems. These include:

  • High levels of air pollution due to car ownership and insufficient public and active modes of transport.
  • Biodiversity being diminished by uncontrolled population growth and urban sprawl.
  • A legacy of buildings characterised by poor energy efficiency and high electricity and heat consumption.
  • A legacy of low administrative and financial capacity across cities.
  • Widespread financial constraints and lack of creditworthiness.

Click here to read the report, Effective policy options for green cities.