Our commitment to adapting urban water management to a changing climate

Home to more than half of the world’s population, urban areas are facing water scarcity and flooding every day. These water-related climate hazards are responsible for 90% of global disasters and will only get worse as the climate crisis unfolds. Challenges brought about by too much or too little water are not equally distributed – C40 cities in low and middle-income countries are ten times more likely to be affected by flooding and drought than those in high-income countries.

C40 research predicts that by 2050, more than 7.4 million people living in C40 cities will be in areas at risk from flooding, costing C40 cities US$136 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) each year over the next three decades. More frequent and severe droughts are projected to broaden existing inequity and cost C40 cities a combined loss of US$111 billion annually.

To address these challenges, C40 mayors are taking action to transform cities and safeguard their communities. Cities are implementing solutions such as water harvesting in informal settlements, restoring urban waterways, and water conservation measures. However, mayors cannot increase urban resilience to climate impacts alone. City governments need to collaborate with partners from public, private and civil society organisations to raise ambition and help speed up the implementation of climate solutions. Together, we can accelerate action and create water-safe cities for all residents.

Signatories of this accelerator commit to protect the most vulnerable communities at high risk of flooding and/or drought by 2027 by:

  • Establishing early warning systems in all low-income areas where communities face a high risk of flooding and drought.
  • Developing emergency responses to protect all people during critical events with actions such as ensuring safe and accessible shelters and provision of basic needs.

In addition, signatory cities pledge to also achieve at least one of the following pathways:

  1. Achieve equitable universal access to clean water efficiently by 2030 by:
    • Reducing at least 20% of water demand.
    • Increasing at least 15% of water supply.
  2. Safeguard people and the city’s critical infrastructure from major flood events by 2030 by:
    • Increasing at least 20% of stormwater retention and infiltration to reduce flood risk significantly.
    • Restoring at least 3 of the city’s water bodies (such as rivers, creeks, and wetlands) to significantly reduce flood risks and improve water quality.
  3. Achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in city water and wastewater systems by 2035 by:
    • Meeting 100% of the total annual energy consumption of the water and wastewater system by renewable energy sources.
    • Capturing and utilising at least 50% of biogas from wastewater plants by 2035.

Signatory cities:

Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Freetown, Jakarta, Lisbon, Los Angeles, Milan, New Orleans, New York City, Oslo, Phoenix, Quezon City, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, Rotterdam, Tokyo, Tshwane

Cities interested in joining this activity can contact: water@c40.org