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SWITCH: Managing water for the city of the future

Increasing global change pressures, escalating costs and other risks inherent to conventional urban water management are causing cities to face ever increasing difficulties in efficiently managing scarcer and less reliable water resources. As well, satisfying water uses/services and waste water disposal without creating environmental, social or economic damage is an increasingly difficult challenge.

SWITCH involved innovation in the area of sustainable urban water management.  This ambitious project looked towards water management in the 'city of the future' aimed to challenge existing paradigms and to find and promote more sustainable alternatives to the conventional ways of managing urban water.  SWITCH also set out to do things differently by carrying out action-orientated research in cities that was more demand-led reflecting the expressed needs of cities.

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'

FHRC were responsible for Governance issues.  This involved the preparation of: an overview report on governance, the development of a methodology for institutional mapping, and guidelines for procedural equity.  FHRC was also involved with Middlesex University's Urban Pollution Research Centre (UPRC) in the development of a GIS-based SUDS selection and location tool for the evaluation of hydrologic performance and storm flow reduction at the urban scale. The Geographic Information Decision System Support tool, SUDSLOC, aims at:

  • Providing support for the identification and location of appropriate SUDS
  • Supporting the integration of data (quantitative and qualitative) from a variety of sources to enable the investigation of the potential benefits of BMPs
  • Incorporating user-friendly tools to ensure simplicity and ease of communication
  • Requiring relatively few skills in GIS (once the spatial data are ready to use)
  • Communicating with a range of storm modelling approaches.  Further information and an example of application can be found on the SUDSLOC flyer.


European Commission Sixth Framework Programme


2006 – 2011

FHRC Project Manager:

Professor Colin Green

FHRC Contact for SUDSLOC:

Dr Christophe Viavattene

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