Cities Solve, Cities Deliver | How cities are transforming water challenges into resilience building opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean

Written by Resilient Cities Network
Thursday, 16 March 2023

The Cities Solve, Cities Deliver campaign is showcasing inspirational game-changing water resilience initiatives in cities in the lead-up, during, and after the UN 2023 Water Conference. Our water resilience journey travels through Europe and the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America. 

Scroll down to read more about the initiatives cities in Latin America and the Caribbean are working on to transform their water threats into opportunities for building a more resilient future for the city and its communities.

Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara

๐™‰๐™š๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™จ ๐™ค๐™› ๐™ง๐™–๐™ž๐™ฃ provide water to the most vulnerable in the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara (AMG). With the ๐™‰๐™ž๐™™๐™ค๐™จ ๐™™๐™š ๐™‡๐™ก๐™ช๐™ซ๐™ž๐™–, 600 households can now meet their water needs.

This innovative #WaterAction resulted from a multistakeholder collaboration led by the metropolitan government aiming to transform its water challenges into opportunities.

To date, 16 million liters of water have been collected. The program will grow to benefit more vulnerable communities facing water scarcity and prepare them better for the changing climate. The rain nests collect, filter and purify waterโ€”each filter can store up to 2,500 liters.

This program is part of the metropolis’ Water Resilience Agenda, which was developed and is being implemented in collaboration with the Resilient Cities Network and other partners. Ultimately, the agenda will shift the water management paradigm in Jalisco and the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area.

In recognition of the positive impact, the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area and the Nidos de Lluvia program were one of the winners at the @C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards 2022 under the category “United Building Resilience”. The award highlights the contribution of the program to building local capacity to take climate action and adapt to droughtsโ€”one of the most pressing challenges that the metropolis is facing.

Mexico City

Mexico City was a lake system before becoming one of the biggest metropolises in the world.

Today, periodic flooding & water scarcity are some of the city’s chronic stresses. Due to this historical transformationโ€”and a concern for the local governmentโ€“400.000 inhabitants suffer from a shortage of drinking water in Iztapalapa, the capital’s most populous borough. From 1980 to 2013, water-related emergencies cost the economy around $4.135 million.

Mexico City is building #WaterResilience and bringing everyone on board!
The Resilience Council promotes participatory dialogue to design disaster risk reduction policies, including projects that address water challenges. The multi-stakeholder coordination enables a common space for multiple sectors, including the community, to face complex problems focusing on mitigating impact, addressing causes, and implementing transformative solutions.

Collectively addressing the underlying roots of water challenges is strengthening the capacity of the urban systems, the inhabitants, and the economy to prepare and withstand future shocksโ€”contributing to building social, economic, environmental & institutional resilience.


Monterrey and its Metropolitan Area have experienced a severe drought since 2015.

Last year, for the first time in 3 decades, the city could not guarantee continuous potable water services due to the effects caused by climate change and rapid demographic growth.

๐“๐ก๐ž ๐œ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญโ€”๐ฌ๐จ๐ฅ๐ฏ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐๐ž๐ฅ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐ฉ๐ฉ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐ฎ๐ง๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐ž๐ฌ.

Monterrey will soon be able to manage the water supply more efficiently and equitably, thus requiring fewer volumes of water and assuring 24/7 service.

With state-of-the-art technology, the city is instrumenting nearly 3,000 small hydric circuits that will enable the Water Utility to remotely visualize and control the distribution system, obtaining data to better manage the system and to lessen water leaks. Better usage of limited water resources, increased efficiency in distribution and more water availability for the city are among the benefits.

The innovative Water Action is focused on inclusion and will guarantee that the available water is equally distributed among the population.

Sรฃo Paulo Metropolitan Area

Water access is at risk for millions of city dwellers in the Metropolitan Region of Sรฃo Paulo. The reasons are multifold stressors:
โ€ข ๐—Ÿ๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—ถ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜๐˜†: The Alto Tietรช Hydrographic Basin, where the metropolitan region sits, has little more than half its area (50.5%) in watershed areas.
โ€ข ๐—ฅ๐—ฎ๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฑ ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ฝ๐˜‚๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต and increasing informal settlements near the watershed areas threaten water quality and biodiversity.
โ€ข ๐—œ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ฐ ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† with high demands for water resources depends on transfers from basins in neighbouring watersheds.

Faced with this complex scenario, the Alto Tietรช Hydrographic Basin Committee and the Agency Foundation fostered dialogue between the different sectors and actors involved to define solutions that mitigate the effect on the environment and water supply and reduce the internal stressors.

To implement the solutions, both the Committee and the Foundation have joined efforts to finance programs and actions in โ€‹โ€‹water resources from the financial resources of the State Water Resources Fund.

This #WaterAction builds overall resilience and is transformative in two ways:
1. It involves multiple levels of government and agencies, sectors and communities co-creating solutions.
2. It strengthens articulation between the state and municipalities and increases local agility to diagnose their areasโ€”knowing their reality allows municipalities to lead the actions needed.

Cities Solve, Cities Deliver

Join us in showcasing how cities contribute to water resilience globally and inspire other cities around the world. Share a water resilience initiative your city is currently developing or implementing to turn water from a threat into an opportunity.

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Lynette Lim

New York City

Thomas Halaczinsky

Mexico City

Fabiola Guillen


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