Implementation of a specific urban water management - Sponge City

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Science of the Total Environment, 2019, 652 pp. 147 - 162
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© 2018 Elsevier B.V. Climate change, rapid urbanization and inappropriate urban planning policies in many countries have resulted in urban water-related problems, such as flooding disasters, water pollution and water shortages. To tackle these issues, the specific urban water management strategy known as Sponge City has been implemented in China since 2013. This is a complex method and one involving many challenges. This paper critically assesses the approaches associated with conventional urban water management. The Sponge City concept and its adoption are then scrutinized to comprehensively assess the limitations and opportunities. It emerges that Sponge City has four main principles, these being: urban water resourcing, ecological water management, green infrastructures, and urban permeable pavement. The uncertainties in Sponge City design and planning, and financial insufficiencies are the most serious problems that can risk the failure of the Sponge City concept. While significant barriers exist, the opportunities for implementing a Sponge City are evident. To obtain multi-ecosystem services of Sponge City, it should be implemented at the watershed scales and be flexible, depending on different decision levels or catchment characteristics. It is essential to apply an intelligent decision-making mechanism and consider the need for close cooperation between various agencies with which the central government can work. A suitable sized and harmonious Sponge City, ensuring a good balance between socio-economic development and environmental conservation, is the ideal.
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