City Water Resilience in Africa

City Water Resilience in Africa


City Water Resilience in Africa (CWRA)

Program Objective

As climate risks continue to increase, access to water has become the defining challenge of our times. Whether challenged by too much, too little or poor-quality water, City leaders in Africa face converging challenges of extending water and sanitation services for rapidly growing and urbanizing populations, managing watershed risks often largely outside city jurisdictions, and designing for climate resilience.

Program Approach

The work involves creating City Characterisation Reports for Addis Ababa and Kigali, together with completing a multi-stakeholder assessment and visioning workshops. From this each City will prepare its City Water Resilience Profile and Action Plan. Documentation is available online for previous cities that have applied the CWRA at various stages. The aim is to build a knowledge base for other cities to access for comparison and insight by sharing all materials.

This program is designed using the CWRA methodology and assessment framework as well as the Our Water governance mapping tool. It incorporates other spatial planning tools and frameworks developed by WRI that allow city-regions to identify, quantify and locate urban water risks (e.g. the Aqueduct database). 

This approach supports taking a comprehensive systems perspective to urban water resilience to inform an integrated ‘one water’ approach that supports the health and wellbeing of the community and protects the natural water cycle. The CWRA at its core helps assess the resilience of the water system a city depends on and includes upstream and downstream catchment issues.



cities with over 3 million residents face extremely high water stress by 2030[1]


people live without readily available, safe water at home[2]


decline in GDP could be seen in water scarce regions by 2050 as a result of climate change[3]




Addis Ababa’s economy is growing as the city is undergoing a rapid urban transformation. City leaders recognize that the city needs to not only build its capacity to respond and recover from water-related shocks and stresses but also change its relationship with water to create an environment for the city to thrive.

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Program Resources

Making Climate Risk Assessments Accessible

Making Climate Risk Assessments Accessible

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Speaker Series #5 -  Aligning Infrastructure for Resilience

Speaker Series #5 – Aligning Infrastructure for Resilience

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Speaker Series #4 –  Resilient Health Systems

Speaker Series #4 – Resilient Health Systems

Two years after the start of the pandemic, the virus is not yet considered endemic, but communities across the world have had to address health system crisis, gaps and innovations to be able to live with the virus circulating, as well as other healthcare related challenges. In this fourth Cities View More
Speaker Series #3 –  CITY LEADERS SPEAK: Maintaining Vision in a World with Increasing Risks

Speaker Series #3 – CITY LEADERS SPEAK: Maintaining Vision in a World with Increasing Risks

The Covid-19 pandemic has made clear that one crisis quickly begets another. The climate extremes that have been impacting cities in recent years – floods, droughts, cyclones – collide with existing challenges of aging and inadequate urban infrastructure, preventing cities from full economic recovery. View More

City Water Resilience in Africa