Water is a basic human need. In July 2010 the United Nations’ General Assembly declared access to clean water and sanitation a human right. The main target of this resolution is to establish a global commitment to offer funding, technology and other resources to provide clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for everyone, with special attention to developing countries.
Water is present in every category related to sustainability; it is indispensable for the human consumption and it is the centre of many social interactions. It is the main source of the Earth’s ecosystems and also the engine of several economic activities.
Water has a major impact on the basic health services in the human settlements due to the fact that sanitation depends on the hydraulic quality and its availability. It is important to mention that while its availability varies on environmental assets such as geographic location and the hydrologic cycle, the supply and quality of this vital liquid rely on human practices.
Civilisations and religions have acknowledged the ritual aspect of water in the life cycle; therefore this liquid has contributed not only to the physical formation of cities but also to the symbolic articulation of the society. Any meaningful notion of long-term sustainability agendas in the design process of cities must include the management of water at all its levels.
It is widely recognized the association of sustainability to the wellbeing of individuals in the urban and rural populations. However, this wellbeing must be pursued without depleting the natural resources; water is a prime renewable resource.
A strong sense of community is an important indicator of sustainability and thus the ecological implications of the social and governmental attitudes towards water have to be tightly monitored in order to combat the irresponsible manipulation of the water resources.
In regards of the human-made habitats, the institutions and organizations which operate the hydraulic resources in a city are essential components in the formation of the urban landscapes.
Water-related catastrophes such as scarcity and floods are often rooted in the misconception of the waterworks and their immediate influence on the environment. In addition, the current patterns of water consumption are unable to satisfy the global demand required for agriculture, industrial activities and overall, the domestic life.