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Special Issue "Sustainable Urban Water Management"

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A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Fabio Masi

IRIDRA Srl, Via La Marmora 51, 50121, Florence, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +39 055 475593
Interests: constructed wetlands for water pollution control; sustainable water management; sustainable urban drainage systems; diffuse pollution; fate of pollutants; pollutant degradation pathways

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Climate change and rapid growth of urban population is dramatically affecting water management: by one side urban water demand is continuously increasing, on the other side urbanization has produced heavy hydrologic modifications at the water basin scale. Most of the current strategies about water management are only blindly focused on developing new sources in order to face the constantly increasing demand of the primary resource. The paradigm seems to be: in reply to population increase, growth of densely populated areas, improvement of the economic conditions, a corresponding increase in the total water consumption has to be met. This concept does not fit at all, in most of the occasions, with the present and future water availability of the concerned territory, and often leads to new infrastructure very expensive to build and maintain. But the paradigm can be shifted! And the shift must go towards sustainability.
However, is there consensus about what sustainability would mean in terms of water management? According to recent works, water would have to be used in cycles, or cascades, possibly with source separation of different flows in order to make treatment and reuse easier. Various water sources, rain, surface water, groundwater, would have to be integrated into the urban fabric, instead of being just safely evacuated, in order to provide water for consumption but also for ecosystems and ecosystem services. Actually ecosystems would be developed in order to provide services, which are now often sought through technical appliances. Nutrients contained in domestic wastewater would return to soil and crop production. The main investments shouldn’t go in building or upgrading sewer systems and supply nets, and should be focused instead at house-hold level, improving time by time the efficiency of the cycle for replying to the increasing demand.
The special issue of Water on Sustainable Water Management that we are proposing for your contributions will comprise papers on techniques for onsite water and nutrients saving and reuse such as rainwater harvesting, flow reduction, closed-loop or cascade water systems in residential and commercial buildings, wastewater segregation, greywater treatment, nutrients recovery.
Therefore, we would like to call for papers to disseminate and share findings on similar practices of sustainable water management in addressing problems and opportunities scientifically. Papers are selected by a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, development and application in the wider area of sustainable water management.
Original research papers or critical reviews are invited.

Dr. Fabio Masi, Ph.D.
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • water saving
  • integrated water management
  • reuse of water
  • reuse of nutrients
  • source separation
  • greywater
  • constructed wetlands
  • rainwater harvesting
  • nutrients recovery

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Action Research’s Potential to Foster Institutional Change for Urban Water Management
Water 2013, 5(2), 356-378; doi:10.3390/w5020356
Received: 1 February 2013 / Revised: 8 March 2013 / Accepted: 21 March 2013 / Published: 3 April 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (295 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper discusses the potential of action research to meet the challenges entailed in institutional design for urban water management. Our overall aim is to briefly present action research and discuss its methodological merits with regard to the challenges posed by the different
[...] Read more.
The paper discusses the potential of action research to meet the challenges entailed in institutional design for urban water management. Our overall aim is to briefly present action research and discuss its methodological merits with regard to the challenges posed by the different conceptual bases for extrapolating the effects of institutional design on institutional change. Thus, our aim is to explore how Action Research meets the challenge of scoping the field in an open fashion for determining the appropriate mechanisms of institutional change and supporting the emerging of new water institutions. To accomplish this aim, we select the Water Framework Directive (WFD) as an illustrative driving force requiring changes in water management practices and implying the need for the emergence of new institutions. We employ a case of urban water management in the Volos Metropolitan Area, part of the Thessaly region in Greece, where a Pilot River Basin Plan was implemented. By applying action research and being involved in a long process of interaction between stakeholders, we examine the emergence of new institutions dealing with urban water management under the general principles of the major driving force for change: the WFD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Management)
Open AccessArticle A New Methodology for Evaluating Potential for Potable Water Savings (PPWS) by Using Rainwater Harvesting at the Urban Level: The Case of the Municipality of Colombes (Paris Region)
Water 2013, 5(1), 312-326; doi:10.3390/w5010312
Received: 2 February 2013 / Revised: 2 March 2013 / Accepted: 11 March 2013 / Published: 18 March 2013
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (610 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The practice of rainwater harvesting (RWH) is spreading rapidly in urban areas. This article studies the impact of a possible generalization of this practice for municipalities by proposing a new method to quantify the potential for potable water savings (PPWS) by using rainwater
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The practice of rainwater harvesting (RWH) is spreading rapidly in urban areas. This article studies the impact of a possible generalization of this practice for municipalities by proposing a new method to quantify the potential for potable water savings (PPWS) by using rainwater harvesting at the urban level. The proposed method is based on the adaptation of an already validated model assessing the PPWS for single buildings and the use of urban databases. Two concepts are introduced: (1) the “building type” that allows gathering all the buildings sharing common features; and (2) the “equivalent building,” which is used to assess the PPWS of a set of buildings (of a same building type) as if it were a single building. In the case of the municipality of Colombes (located in the suburbs of Paris), the method shows that the PPWS by using rainwater harvesting represents about 10% of the total potable water consumption: the residential buildings account for 64% of this potential. This method can be applied to other municipalities with a level of acceptable reliability with regard to the means to be implemented in terms of collecting information. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Management)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Biosorption Activated Media Under Roadside Swales for the Removal of Phosphorus from Stormwater
Water 2013, 5(1), 53-66; doi:10.3390/w5010053
Received: 8 November 2012 / Revised: 12 December 2012 / Accepted: 8 January 2013 / Published: 16 January 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2014 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Stormwater runoff from highways is a source of pollution to surface water bodies and groundwater. Excess loadings of phosphorus in stormwater discharged to surface water bodies can result in eutrophication. Treatment of stormwater for phosphorus is necessary in order to sustain ecological and
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Stormwater runoff from highways is a source of pollution to surface water bodies and groundwater. Excess loadings of phosphorus in stormwater discharged to surface water bodies can result in eutrophication. Treatment of stormwater for phosphorus is necessary in order to sustain ecological and economical benefits related to aquatic resources. If phosphorus is removed, the water can be sustained for other uses, such as irrigation and industrial applications. The data presented in this paper is used to evaluate the treatment performance of a roadside biosorption activated media system with regards to the removal of total phosphorus and soluble reactive phosphorus from highway runoff. The evaluation also compares removal efficiencies and effluent concentrations using biosorption activated media (BAM) to that with sandy soil commonly found in the Florida area. The results presented in this paper indicate that BAM bio-filtration systems are a feasible treatment method for removing phosphorus from highway runoff. A discussion concerning the additional treatment and reuse of water by harvesting, as part of a Bio-filtration & Harvesting Swale System, is also presented in the paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Management)
Open AccessArticle Stormwater Governance and Future Cities
Water 2013, 5(1), 29-52; doi:10.3390/w5010029
Received: 14 November 2012 / Revised: 4 January 2013 / Accepted: 6 January 2013 / Published: 14 January 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (360 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban stormwater infrastructure traditionally promoted conveyance. Cities are increasingly designing stormwater infrastructure that integrates both conveyance and infiltration in hybrid systems to achieve public health, safety, environmental, and social goals. In addition, cities face decisions about distribution of responsibilities for stormwater management and
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Urban stormwater infrastructure traditionally promoted conveyance. Cities are increasingly designing stormwater infrastructure that integrates both conveyance and infiltration in hybrid systems to achieve public health, safety, environmental, and social goals. In addition, cities face decisions about distribution of responsibilities for stormwater management and maintenance between institutions and landowners. Hybrid governance structures combine centralized and distributed management to facilitate planning, operations, funding, and maintenance. Effective governance in any management approach will require changes in the expertise of stormwater agencies. Recognizing the distinction between hybrid infrastructure and hybrid governance is important in long-term planning decisions for construction and management of stormwater systems. A framework is presented that relates the level and type of existing stormwater infrastructure with available capital, institutional development, and predominant citizen contributions. Cities with extensive existing infrastructure are increasingly integrating distributed, “green” approaches that promote infiltration, and must improve institutional expertise for governance decisions. For cities with little existing infrastructure, landowner management often dominates, especially when municipalities cannot keep pace with rapid growth. In between, rapidly industrializing cities are positioned to use growing capital resources to fund both conveyance and infiltration measures based on current design principles. For all cities, local management innovations, including decisions regarding public engagement, will be critical in shaping future urban stormwater systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Management)
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Open AccessArticle A Data Driven Approach to Bioretention Cell Performance: Prediction and Design
Water 2013, 5(1), 13-28; doi:10.3390/w5010013
Received: 24 November 2012 / Revised: 13 December 2012 / Accepted: 28 December 2012 / Published: 8 January 2013
PDF Full-text (322 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Bioretention cells are an urban stormwater management technology used to address both water quality and quantity concerns. A lack of region-specific design guidelines has limited the widespread implementation of bioretention cells, particularly in cold climates. In this paper, experimental data are used to
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Bioretention cells are an urban stormwater management technology used to address both water quality and quantity concerns. A lack of region-specific design guidelines has limited the widespread implementation of bioretention cells, particularly in cold climates. In this paper, experimental data are used to construct a multiple linear regression model to predict hydrological performance of bioretention cells. Nine different observed parameters are considered as candidates for regressors, of which inlet runoff volume and duration, and initial soil moisture were chosen. These three variables are used to construct six different regression models, which are tested against the observations. Statistical analysis showed that the amount of runoff captured by a bioretention cell can be successfully predicted by the inlet runoff volume and event duration. Historical data is then used to calculate runoff volume for a given duration, in different catchment types. This data is used in the regression model to predict bioretention cell performance. The results are then used to create a design tool which can assist in estimating bioretention cell size to meet different performance goals in southern Alberta. Examples on the functionality of the design tool are provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Management)
Open AccessArticle Constructed Wetlands for Combined Sewer Overflow Treatment—Comparison of German, French and Italian Approaches
Water 2013, 5(1), 1-12; doi:10.3390/w5010001
Received: 30 October 2012 / Revised: 17 December 2012 / Accepted: 19 December 2012 / Published: 24 December 2012
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (425 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Combined sewer systems are designed to transport stormwater surface run off in addition to the dry weather flows up to defined limits. In most European countries, hydraulic loads greater than the design flow are discharged directly into receiving water bodies, with minimal treatment
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Combined sewer systems are designed to transport stormwater surface run off in addition to the dry weather flows up to defined limits. In most European countries, hydraulic loads greater than the design flow are discharged directly into receiving water bodies, with minimal treatment (screening, sedimentation), or with no treatment at all. One feasible solution to prevent receiving waters from strong negative impacts seems to be the application of vertical flow constructed wetlands. In Germany, first attempts to use this ecological technology were recognized in early 1990s. Since then, further development continued until a high level of treatment performance was reached. During recent years the national “state-of-the-art” (defined in 2005) was adapted in other European countries, including France and Italy. Against the background of differing national requirements in combined sewer system design, substantial developmental steps were taken. The use of coarser filter media in combination with alternating loadings of separated filter beds allows direct feedings with untreated combined runoff. Permanent water storage in deep layers of the wetland improves the system’s robustness against extended dry periods, but contains operational risks. Besides similar functions (but different designs and layouts), correct dimensioning of all approaches suffers from uncertainties in long-term rainfall predictions as well as inside sewer system simulation tools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Management)
Open AccessArticle Innovative Urban Water Management as a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy: Results from the Implementation of the Project “Water Against Climate Change (WATACLIC)”
Water 2012, 4(4), 1025-1038; doi:10.3390/w4041025
Received: 7 October 2012 / Revised: 29 November 2012 / Accepted: 11 December 2012 / Published: 19 December 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (392 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The excessive use of water is damaging European groundwater and rivers: their environmental conditions are often below the “good status” that—according to Water Framework Directive 2000/60—should be reached by 2015. The already critical situation is tending to get worse because of climate change.
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The excessive use of water is damaging European groundwater and rivers: their environmental conditions are often below the “good status” that—according to Water Framework Directive 2000/60—should be reached by 2015. The already critical situation is tending to get worse because of climate change. Even in water rich countries, urban wastewater is still one of the main sources of water pollution. Currently, urban soil sealing and “conventional” rainwater management, which were planned to quickly move rainwater away from roofs and streets, are increasing the flood risk. “Green” technologies and approaches would permit a reduction in water abstraction and wastewater production while improving urban hydrological response to heavy rains. The Life+ WATACLIC project has been implemented to promote such sustainable technologies and approaches in Italy, however the results show huge difficulties: apparently water saving and sustainable urban water management have only low interest amongst the general public and even with public administrations and the relevant industrial sectors. In such a cultural and technical context, the project is bringing a new point of view to public debate. In the long term, the project will certainly have a positive impact, but most likely it will require more time than initially expected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Management)
Open AccessArticle Winter Performance of Inter-Locking Pavers—Stormwater Quantity and Quality
Water 2012, 4(4), 995-1008; doi:10.3390/w4040995
Received: 10 October 2012 / Revised: 25 November 2012 / Accepted: 12 December 2012 / Published: 17 December 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (861 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examined the effectiveness of open-joint inter-locking pavers in a permeable pavement in cold (winter) conditions. A field-scale inter-locking paver cell (UNI Eco-Optiloc®) was built to evaluate the hydraulic performance and water quality improvements experienced during freeze-thaw and frozen conditions
[...] Read more.
This study examined the effectiveness of open-joint inter-locking pavers in a permeable pavement in cold (winter) conditions. A field-scale inter-locking paver cell (UNI Eco-Optiloc®) was built to evaluate the hydraulic performance and water quality improvements experienced during freeze-thaw and frozen conditions in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Hydraulic performance was assessed using stormwater runoff reduction (peaks and volumes) and surface infiltration capacity. Water quality performance for removal of total suspended solids (TSS), total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorous (TP) and three heavy metals: copper, lead and zinc, was assessed. Results from the study demonstrated that the inter-locking pavers were effective in attenuating stormwater runoff peak volumes. The surface infiltration capacity decreased significantly due to the deposition of sanding and de-icing materials on the pavement surface during winter operation. Infiltrated stormwater was stored and treated within the pavement structure, which showed removal rates of 91% for TSS, 78% for TP, 6% for TN, 68% for zinc, 69% for copper and 55% for lead. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Management)
Open AccessArticle Regulation of Water Pollution from Hydraulic Fracturing in Horizontally-Drilled Wells in the Marcellus Shale Region, USA
Water 2012, 4(4), 983-994; doi:10.3390/w4040983
Received: 9 October 2012 / Revised: 16 November 2012 / Accepted: 22 November 2012 / Published: 4 December 2012
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (607 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Hydraulic fracturing is an industrial process used to extract fossil fuel reserves that lie deep underground. With the introduction of horizontal drilling, new commercial sources of energy have become available. Wells are drilled and injected with large quantities of water mixed with specially
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Hydraulic fracturing is an industrial process used to extract fossil fuel reserves that lie deep underground. With the introduction of horizontal drilling, new commercial sources of energy have become available. Wells are drilled and injected with large quantities of water mixed with specially selected chemicals at high pressures that allow petroleum reserves to flow to the surface. While the increased economic activities and the outputs of domestic energy are welcomed, there is growing concern over negative environmental impacts from horizontal drilling in shale formations. The potential for water contamination, land destruction, air pollution, and geologic disruption has raised concerns about the merits of production activities used during extraction. This paper looks at the impacts of horizontal drilling using hydraulic fracturing on water supplies and takes a comprehensive look at legislative and regulatory approaches to mitigate environmental risks in the Marcellus shale region. The overview identifies shortcomings associated with regulatory controls by local and state governments and offers two policy suggestions to better protect waters of the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Management)
Open AccessArticle A Mass Balance Model for Designing Green Roof Systems that Incorporate a Cistern for Re-Use
Water 2012, 4(4), 914-931; doi:10.3390/w4040914
Received: 18 September 2012 / Revised: 29 October 2012 / Accepted: 7 November 2012 / Published: 13 November 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (410 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Green roofs, which have been used for several decades in many parts of the world, offer a unique and sustainable approach to stormwater management. Within this paper, evidence is presented on water retention for an irrigated green roof system. The presented green roof
[...] Read more.
Green roofs, which have been used for several decades in many parts of the world, offer a unique and sustainable approach to stormwater management. Within this paper, evidence is presented on water retention for an irrigated green roof system. The presented green roof design results in a water retention volume on site. A first principle mass balance computer model is introduced to assist with the design of these green roof systems which incorporate a cistern to capture and reuse runoff waters for irrigation of the green roof. The model is used to estimate yearly stormwater retention volume for different cistern storage volumes. Additionally, the Blaney and Criddle equation is evaluated for estimation of monthly evapotranspiration rates for irrigated systems and incorporated into the model. This is done so evapotranspiration rates can be calculated for regions where historical data does not exist, allowing the model to be used anywhere historical weather data are available. This model is developed and discussed within this paper as well as compared to experimental results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Management)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Sustainable Drainage Practices in Spain, Specially Focused on Pervious Pavements
Water 2013, 5(1), 67-93; doi:10.3390/w5010067
Received: 5 November 2012 / Revised: 14 December 2012 / Accepted: 6 January 2013 / Published: 23 January 2013
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (3997 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Spanish climate is full of contrasts, with torrential rains and long droughts; under these conditions, appropriate water management is essential. In Spain, until the end of the twentieth century, water management and legislative development lagged behind other more developed countries. Nowadays, great
[...] Read more.
The Spanish climate is full of contrasts, with torrential rains and long droughts; under these conditions, appropriate water management is essential. In Spain, until the end of the twentieth century, water management and legislative development lagged behind other more developed countries. Nowadays, great efforts are being made to reverse this situation and improve both water management and legislation in order to control the two main problems related to stormwater management in cities: floods and diffuse pollution. In this context, Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) were developed as the main solution to these problems. The study of these techniques started in the 1970s in the USA, but they were not studied in Spain until 1993 when the University of Cantabria and CLABSA started to look into solutions for stormwater management. After 20 years of research and application, sustainable drainage in Spain is still behind other countries in spite of the efforts to change this situation, notably by the University of Cantabria with 10 years of experience in these techniques, mainly regarding pervious pavements, where more than 13 related research projects have been carried out. The future challenges focus on the application of pervious pavements for Urban Hydrological Rehabilitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Management)
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