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New CDP Research Finds Cities Catching Up to Companies on Water Security Development

Image Credit: International Water Association

International environmental reporting and data non-profit CDP has released new research in partnership with global infrastructure firm AECOM revealing that $9.5 billion worth of city water projects are now open for investment. Released for World Water Week (27 August – 1 September) the new infographic report, Who’s Tackling Urban Water Challenges?shows the first-ever comprehensive dataset of global water action by cities and companies produced. Using information gathered from 569 cities and 1,432 companies, each reporting their water management activity, it illustrates how global cities and companies are responding to the escalating challenge of climate change and water security.

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New Metrics '17.

According to the report, 63 percent of North American cities face risks to their water supply as a result of climate change, with 196 cities already reporting risks of water stress and scarcity. Additionally, 132 cities demonstrate a risk of declining water quality and 103 a risk of flooding.

Regions most concerned about their water supply lie in Asia and Oceania (84 percent), with significant risks also identified in Africa (80 percent) and Latin America (75 percent).  

Together with $14 billion of water impacts reported from companies, such as loss of production last year, 62 percent of cities are now working with companies to address water and climate change issues with 80 cities seeking $9.5 billion for 89 water management projects

Water investment opportunities are greatest in Latin America ($6.7 billion), where Quito, Ecuador is looking for $800 million to manage their water supply. The city aims to build three hydropower stations and address the contamination of 246km of Quito’s rivers and streams. Development in Latin America is followed by North America ($2.7 billion); Asia and Oceania ($27.4 million) and Africa ($6.19 million).

View the full infographic

“Our report shows just how crucial water management is becoming to our cities. We are seeing critical shifts in leadership from cities and companies in response to the very real threat of flooding, for example, to local economies. Combined with innovation and financial capital, this puts the tipping point for a sustainable economy in reach, and this data shows how important investors are in making this happen,” said Morgan Gillespy, Head of CDP’s Water Program.

“These funds are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of where we must go, with live infrastructure projects currently calling out for US$9.5 billion. Furthermore, in conjunction with investment, we must take a holistic approach to water. Our vision is to achieve a secure and sustainable water supply by 2030, but to get here we need a sharp U-turn in how we manage our natural resources. Water must be recognized as a critical asset at city and board level, so it’s down to us all to build it into our thinking.”

In addition to highlighting key facts and statistics surrounding water issues, the infographic shares case studies from across the globe, as well as a number of key actions cities and companies can take to increase water security.

“From our work with cities around the world, water has consistently come up as a key resilience challenge.  Many of them, regardless of size, from Mexico City, Mexico to Berkeley, California, are addressing both long-term water supply issues as well as chronic urban flooding,” said Claire Bonham-Carter, Principal and City Resilience Lead at AECOM. “In thinking about the immediate flooding and future water scarcity issues through a resilience lens, we are helping cities to address issues of socio-economic disparity and environmental justice, in addition to solving their technical challenges.”

Explore how cities and companies are acting on water, the CDP infographic report ‘Who's tackling urban water challenges’, with case studies and full data available at

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