Description

Climate change, water availability and food production are strictly connected. Food production depends on the availability of water. Increase in population is one of the main reasons for affecting water availability, infact the future population in water-stressed areas by 2025 will be between 2.9 to 3.3 billion people (Arnell, 2004) .

Climate change will increase these projections. By 2055 5.6 billion people will live in water-stressed watersheds under A2 population future (Arnell, 2004) .

To guarantee food production where there is less water availability due to climate change, one possibile solution is to development SuDS in urban areas using land and structures to store water. Potential solutions include channels for water flow, water tanks distribuited in each building, green roofs, roof top food growing, green bus stops and car parks with water storage.

A global urban application of SuDS will give the opportunity of increasing food production in urban areas and reduce dependancy on the countryside and food imports.

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More often than not water availability is less and demand higher. Infact in the last century the Mediterranean area was affected by 20% reduction in precipitation. This trend is expected to worsen due to the increasing demand of water and reduction of rainfall (Trigo et al., 2004, in Eisenreich, 2005) .

Also, there are particular problems due to floods. Collection of water could be a way to ensure food production and to prevent floods. It is important to consider that surface-water (pluvial) flooding is increasing in frequency and magnitude (Speak et al., 2013; Butler &Davies, 2011) , especially given the prospect of more frequent and intense storms in the future as a result of climate change (IPCC, 2012) .

One option currently available is the use of sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS), which advocate holistic, integrated drainage measures with minimal adverse environmental impacts (Ashley et al., 2011, Woods-Ballard et al., 2007, Nawaz et al., 2014) . They place a focus on water storage and slower conveyance of storm water (White, 2008), allowing more natural drainage processes to occur and for self-sustaining drainage systems to be established (Kirby, 2005; O’Sullivan et al., 2012) .

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Many SuDS measures are implemented as close to the source as possible, lowering the volume of runoff leaving a site, in order to reduce potential strain elsewhere in the catchment (Rauch et al., 2005) . However, they are found to be most effective when combined with larger scale SuDS, such as detention ponds and basins, to form an integrated ‘management train’ throughout the catchment (Kirby, 2005; O’Sullivan et al., 2012) .

 

Note

The project is developed as research for Leeds university, the idea came from Porous project, a protocol to develop Suds in urbanized areas.

Objectives and beneficiaries

Water recovery and improved management will reduce the loss of water and allow it to be reused, reducing the importation of food from the countryside. At the same time SuDS can reduce the likelihood of floods in areas at risk, improving water quality. They can also increase connectivity between people, their environment and community through the creation of open gardens and build better connected communities in urban areas. The urban population will be the main beneficiary of this practice.

Strong points of the practice

Water recovery and food production in urban areas. Application of SuDS will also help more disadvantaged people produce food for themselves.

Expected results and benefits for climate change adaptation and mitigation

Adaptation to climate change: more production of food in urban areas, reduction of water use and floods

Replicability potential of the practice

The practice can be replicated in all urban areas, irrelevant of the particular landscape.






[Editor's Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.]