Defining Urban Water Insecurity: Concepts and Relevance

  • Bhaswati RayEmail author
  • Rajib Shaw
Part of the Disaster Risk Reduction book series (DRR)


Nearly half of the world’s total population resides in towns and cities, and the percentage is projected to reach 60 in the next two decades. The United Nations predict that by 2050, the urban population of the world will reach 6.3 billion from 3.5 billion. 93% of the growth would be in the developing countries with more than 80% in the cities of Asia and Africa. The rapid increase in population and the fast pace of urbanization along with climate change are putting cities under increasing water stress. The two main challenges facing urban areas are the inadequate and inequitable access to safe water and improved sanitation facilities on one hand and increased frequency and intensity of disasters including floods and droughts with adverse consequences on economic growth, health and well-being on the other. Water insecurity can be defined as the lack availability of sufficient water of good quality to meet basic human requirements, livelihoods and ecosystem functions, and an increased risk of water-linked disasters. Water security thus involves, in addition to having enough water resources, reduction of disaster risks associated extreme weather events floods, resolving conflicts over shared water systems, reducing stress among different stakeholders and competing uses of water. It is thus embedded in various development issues including poverty alleviation, food security, social equity and environmental sustainability. It also involves increasing the economic efficiency. Based primarily on literature review, the chapter intends to include the various concepts and threats to urban water security and measures to improve the same.


Urbanization Climate change Water stress Water security 



The Editors would like to take this opportunity to humbly acknowledge the contribution and valuable suggestions provided for this book by all contributing authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sivanath Sastri CollegeUniversity of CalcuttaKolkataIndia
  2. 2.Graduate School of Media and GovernanceKeio UniversityFujisawaJapan

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