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

Resilient Water Management – How Resilient Cities Share Strategies for Adapting to a Changing Climate

Resilient Water Management – How Resilient Cities Share Strategies for Adapting to a Changing Climate

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Building Wellington's Resilient Community Water Access

Building Wellington’s Resilient Community Water Access

Wellington, New Zealand sits on shaky ground, so they know they need to be ready for a significant seismic event. One concern is that a future earthquake will rupture the city’s underground water pipes, cutting off water to its over 400,000 inhabitants, for up to 100 days in some areas. View More
Cities on the Frontline Speaker Series, Resilient Cities Network and World Bank Group logos with blue background.

Cities on the Frontline Speaker Series: Sharing Knowledge to Respond with Resilience

Share Coronavirus Speaker Series: Sharing Knowledge to Respond with Resilience is a weekly session organized by the Global Resilient Cities Network and the World Bank as a knowledge sharing session for cities in response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation. 32. Role of Resilience: What Have We Learned? We recaptured View More
Water and Sanitation: Resilience Point of View

Water and Sanitation: Resilience Point of View

Building water resilience must tackle weak funding, planning, capacity, and governance of water and sanitation services as a top priority. View More

City Water Resilience in Africa