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Sustainable Urban Water and Wastewater Services: The TRUST Approach
Murray, D. Sustainable Urban Water and Wastewater Services: The TRUST Approach. Presented at ICOSSE '13 - 3rd International Congress on Sustainability Science & Engineering, Cincinnati, OH, August 11 - 15, 2013.
The TRUST (Transitions to the Urban Water Services of Tomorrow) Project is a research program funded by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme. The overall objective of TRUST is to help water and wastewater authorities and utilities across Europe to formulate and implement urban water policies to enhance urban water cycle services (UWCS). The goal of TRUST is to deliver knowledge and tools to transition UWCS towards a sustainable, low-carbon water future without jeopardizing service quality. In developing a sustainability framework to guide TRUST, the internationally recognized “triple bottom line” dimensions of sustainability were identified as foundation, or “main dimensions” of a UWCS sustainability definition. Further linkages to the key physical and operational dimensions or “supporting dimensions” were included with the consideration of assets and governance. This led to the TRUST working definition of UWCS sustainability: Sustainability in urban water cycle services is met when the quality of the assets and governance of the services is sufficient to actively secure the water sector’s needed contributions to urban social, environmental and economic development in a way that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. TRUST further recognized that to meet its goal, water and wastewater authorities and utilities needed a sustainability assessment approach to provide insights into measures to improve the management and development of UWCS assets and governance to positively influence the end dimensions of social, environmental and economic sustainability. By critically and carefully examining a key set of performance metrics and indicators against a corresponding set of sustainability objectives and criteria, medium- and long-term transition challenges could be identified and addressed. The 13 sustainability objectives that provide focus to the assessment are: • Economic – ensure economic sustainability of the UWCS • Environmental – efficient use of water, energy and materials; minimization of other environmental impacts • Social – access to urban water and wastewater services; effectively satisfy the current users’ needs and expectations; acceptance and awareness of UWCS • Assets – infrastructure reliability, adequacy and resilience; human capital; information and knowledge management • Governance – public participation; transparency and accountability; clearness, steadiness and measurability of the UWCS policies TRUST conducted pilot, baseline sustainability assessments of the UWCS of eleven cities in Europe and Africa. This presentation will highlight the results of those assessments and will discuss the overall results and conclusions of this pilot implementation. Note: the author is a member of the TRUST external Project Advisory Committee.
To inform the public.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT RESEARCH LABORATORY
WATER SUPPLY AND WATER RESOURCES DIVISION
URBAN WATERSHED MANAGEMENT BRANCH