A new manual to inspire and guide transitions towards energy efficient Sustainable urban Drainage Solutions in Mediterranean cities

Alison Duffy, Sara Perales

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


    The future is uncertain and presents serious and persistent problems, particularly when considering urbanisation, ecological footprints, water management and climate change impacts. Water managers acknowledge on a global scale that current unsustainable practices are no longer acceptable from the different perspectives of ecology (disruptions to the water cycle and habitats), public health (water qualities, sanitation services) and the economy (flooding and drought consequences, resource overuse, energy consumption). From a transitioning perspective, integrated and sustainable urban water management is considered to be the 'next revolution' but uncertainty is hard to plan for especially in the context of 'resilience and adaptability' (Shove and Walker, 2007). E2STORMED is a research project (2013--2015) which is funded by the EU MED programme. Mediterranean cities struggle with the energy nexus particularly when considering the energy intensive burden (up to 35%) to municipalities and water utilities in managing water and waste water services (NRDC, 2009). The central theme of E2STORMED is 'saving energy through efficient management of urban stormwater' in Mediterranean countries, many that are not rich in energy or water. To address these challenges, E2STORMED aims to facilitate a paradigm shift using the transition management process (Grin et al, 2010) to move towards sustainable urban water practices that deliver a more energy efficient future in six Mediterranean countries: Croatia, Greece, Italy, Malta, Montenegro and Spain. This is being achieved by application of a decision support tool that compares traditional drainage and energy efficient sustainable urban drainage solutions and applying a transition framework (Duffy and Jefferies, 2011) to guide the project partners towards the new paradigm. In the process, the academic partners in collaboration with the pilot partners in each country are developing a transition manual that highlights the journey undertaken in each country that will serve as an inspirational guide for other Mediterranean cities that aspire for better futures.

    The E2STORMED Transition Manual builds on deliverables from two previous EU funded projects: Interreg IIIB Urban Water -- A Water Vision for Johnstone and the FP6 SWITCH (Sustainable Water Improves Tomorrow's cities health) -- Transition Manual. A Water Vision for Johnstone is a communication document aimed at the public and non-technical stakeholders to inform about water related issues and the solutions and benefits provided by integrated urban water management (IUWM) (Jefferies and Duffy, 2008). It was based on the idea of the Municipal Water Toets (assessments) in the Netherlands which are statutory procedures that evaluate the impact of development on the water network. The SWITCH Transition Manual is a guidance document that informs urban water practitioners and decision makers of the phases and steps for transitioning from traditional urban water management practices towards IUWM (Jefferies and Duffy, 2011). The E2STORMED Transition Manual is intended for decision makers at the local level (in areas of urban water, energy, urban planning, etc.), water utilities and practitioners. It contains three main sections: a summary on the concept of sustainable stormwater management and energy consumption in the urban water cycle; an explanation of Transition Management activities; and pilot partner case studies.

    At the beginning of the project, partners were presented with the SWITCH Transition Framework (Duffy and Jefferies, 2011) by the academic team and a timeframe set for undertaking each transition management activity over the duration of the project. Activities which have been progressed to date include: set-up and operate regional working groups; clarify stormwater and energy management issues; develop an integrated vision and strategic plan; and undertake transition experiments (in this case -- applying the DST to the pilot partner local situation). The final three steps include: identify and collaborate with other key players who have a stake in stormwater and energy issues such as the local community, NGO's, the media and businesses; develop process documentation and capacity building programmes; and finally, evaluate and learn from experiences gained to enable a re-evaluation of transition progress during the life of the project.

    Sections one and two are in final draft format. Based on progress to date, three case studies for Croatia (Zagrab), Crete (Hersonissos) and Spain (Benaguasil) have been drafted for section three. All pilot partners had very different local situations and drivers for implementing more sustainable drainage solutions which provide energy efficiency gains but similar governance issues. From the outset it became very clear that pilot partners already had various transition strengths when applying the transition framework. Of note is that all have strengths regarding public educational and participatory programmes.

    During the development of the manual and on analysis of case study pilot partner issues and potential solutions a customised framework has been developed that better fits each local situation. This will help focus and orientate the regional working group in their attempt to facilitate the change towards more sustainable practices in their city. It is envisaged that by the end of the project there will be seven documents. One summary document will include sections one and two and snapshots of all six case studies. This will be an "inspirational guide for transitioning" to encourage replication of outcomes from the E2STORMED project by other Mediterranean cities. There will also be six individual documents which will be translated into the pilot partner language.

    Conclusions and Recommendations
    Facilitating and accelerating change towards more sustainable futures via transition management is not a new idea. Sormwater management practices continue to evolve and are delivering more sustainable techniques which can be applied in most situations, even in areas such as the Mediterranean where uptake is currently limited (Perales‐Momparler et al 2013). Energy consumption is increasingly becoming a burden to most responsible bodies in the water sector and to the public purse. The E2STORMED Transition Manual provides clear insights for what a different future should look like and illustrates how this can be achieved. Through the case studies it showcases how innovative water infrastructure that offset global warming impacts can be a viable option in Mediterranean regions. The Draft Manual was launched at a recent project open day in Zagreb (September 2-14). Initial responses from pilot partners were very positive.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    EventWorld Water Congress XV - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    Duration: 25 May 201529 May 2015
    Conference number: 15


    ConferenceWorld Water Congress XV
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


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