13. Sep. 2022
C40 Cities launches Phase Two of the Water Safe Cities project to accelerate better water management following the successful delivery of Phase One of C40’s Water Safe Cities project, which found that climate-related flooding and drought expected to impact millions of people and cost world’s major cities $194 billion annually

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40 Cities) is partnering with Grundfos and the Grundfos Foundation to launch the second phase of its Water Safe Cities project (WSC II). The second phase aims to commit cities to science-based targets, to catalyse ambitious city actions through various flood and drought solutions.

Phase One of Water Safe Cities (WSC I) research found that 7.4 million people in the world’s largest cities will be exposed to severe river flooding by 2050, which is why Phase Two of the project is targeting interventions such as water permeability and emergency response systems, to help save millions of lives.

Portrait Of Girl With Bag On Head Walking In Water.

A staggering 7.4 million people in the world’s largest cities will be exposed to severe river flooding by 2050. Photo: Getty Images

C40 Cities marked the launch today with a special session at the International Water Association (IWA) World Water Congress & Exhibition in Copenhagen, Denmark. With the need for global action never more urgent, the IWA Congress’ theme of “Water For Smart Liveable Cities” is extremely timely.

Panel discussion at IWA World Congress in Copenhagen

Panel discussion at IWA World Congress in Copenhagen. Photo: Grundfos

The special session brought together public and private stakeholders to discuss issues of urban water governance, with the aim of safeguarding the water supply that the cities of the future will sorely need.

"Water Safe Cities I was about researching the global issue of urban flooding and drought; now, the newly launched Water Safe Cities II lays the pathway for action and will explore a solid delivery approach that helps to build water-resilient cities. Water excess and scarcity are among the most urgent challenges of our lifetimes. That is why the Grundfos Foundation and Grundfos are proud to partner with C40 on the Water Safe Cities project."
Kim Nøhr Skibsted, CEO of the Grundfos Foundation,

Water accelerator for cities

A key component of WSC II is the creation of a new Water Accelerator for cities to pledge ambitious action to safeguard their water supply. Cities will commit to:

  • Raising the ambition on water resilience in cities and supporting this with solid delivery
  • Safeguarding cities from water-related climate hazards
  • Making water security and safety a core component of cities’ climate strategy following an urban water management approach
"Phase Two of the project is targeting interventions such as water permeability and emergency response systems, to help save millions of lives."

This commitment will help cities make ambitious yet achievable commitments towards their water safety goals, but it will also follow up through a strong delivery mechanism based on targets, indicators and implementation pathways. C40 has rigorous experience in supporting cities’ commitments and will leverage this expertise to make this accelerator a success. C40’s role will be working alongside cities to develop ambitious water targets through a pathways approach and research. This will allow cities to have multiple options to choose from based on their cities water hazards, local conditions, and resources. Each pathway will also set clear, ambitious yet achievable targets for cities.

Flooded uban area seen from the air

Flooded urban area seen from the air. Photo: Pexels/Pok Rie

WSC II will also strongly draw upon existing C40 water networks knowledge base – formed of Connecting Delta Cities, Urban Flooding, and Water Secure Cities. The networks will help ensure the project framework is designed to meet city needs and provide guidance and assistance throughout the project.

Kim Nøhr Skibsted speaking from the podium

Foundation CEO Kim Nøhr Skibsted set the scene at the launch session. Photo: Grundfos

In addition, WSC II will result in the creation of an Expert Advisory Group, representing academic institutions, NGOs and industry groups, to support cities on issues such as financing delivery, which present more of a challenge for some cities compared with others.

"The Water Safe Cities II project is urgently needed. Mitigating river flood risks, for instance, would reduce damages across all C40 cities by 13% by 2050, while drought-related solutions could save $8bn in damages. This partnership between C40, Grundfos and the Grundfos Foundation should be the starting point for wider collaboration between cities, national governments and the private sector, all of whom have an incentive to protect cities from water risks."
Kevin Austen, Deputy Executive Director of C40

WSC II, like WSC I, will be informed by insights from Grundfos, as a global leader in advanced pump solutions and water technologies. C40 will advise and support cities on solutions such as river catchment management, water-system efficiency improvements, and flood-proofing critical infrastructure. Grundfos’ work with C40 embodies the partnership between the public and private sectors that will be critical to the project’s success.

So far, the Foundation has contributed DKK 3.7 million (USD 563,000) towards Water Safe Cities I and committed DKK 11,70 million (~USD 1.6 million) for Water Safe Cities II.

About the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

C40 is a network of nearly 100 mayors of the world’s leading cities who are working to deliver the urgent action needed right now to confront the climate crisis and create a future where everyone, everywhere can thrive. Mayors of C40 cities are committed to using a science-based and people-focused approach to help the world limit global heating to 1.5°C and build healthy, equitable and resilient communities. Through a Global Green New Deal, mayors are working alongside a broad coalition of representatives from labour, business, the youth climate movement and civil society to go further and faster than ever before.