Enabling the assessment of alternative water supply systems to promote urban water security in the Global South



September 2021

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AltWater will investigate ways to increase the self-reliance and sustainability of cities in the global South with regard to water supply by relieving pressure on traditional sources through the implementation of alternative water systems (for example rainwater harvesting, wastewater reuse, desalination). With partner cities in Mozambique and Indonesia, AltWater will develop a tailor-made approach in each city to evaluate the potential of alternative systems to contribute to urban water supply and security. Assessment of site-specific aspects of potential systems, including yield (water volume) and reliability, cost, institutional and socio-environmental factors across the city area will be carried out.

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Many cities in the global South are rapidly expanding, and already face water stresses, with the poorest often lacking access to reliable and safe water. There is a clear need to improve the sustainable sourcing and use of water in cities to secure supply in view of depleting resources, growing demands, and climate change pressures in the long term. Resilience to future change can be increased through diversification of supply sources. Alternative water supply systems represent an important opportunity in this respect.

-Maputo and Beira, Mozambique
-Surabaya and Gresik, Indonesia

What will change    
AltWater will address an important gap in the development and uptake of alternative water systems, which lies in the lack of assessment frameworks for these schemes. This project adopts a novel “Leader-Follower” City approach whereby Maputo and Surabaya are designated as leader cities. These two cities will then become primarily responsible for developing and training capacity in the Follower City (Beira and Gresik respectively). Local partners will gain knowledge and expertise in alternative supply assessment and planning through participation in the research. Collaboration and knowledge exchange between partners will be strengthened, increasing capacity and networks.


This study is funded by DUPC2, the programmatic cooperation between the Directorate-General for International Cooperation of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and IHE Delft in the period 2016-2020.