Urban water atlas for Europe

The new Atlas (86 MB) illustrates the role of water in the European cities and informs citizens, local authorities and experts about best practices and innovative developments leading to a more sustainable usage of the valuable resource water.

The Atlas is one of the results of the BlueSCities project financed under Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation program. It shows how the various methods of water management affect water use. However, other factors, which influence the long-term sustainability of water use, such as waste management, climate change and food preferences are also taken into account.

“Water scarcity affects more than 10 percent of Europe’s population. To foster innovative water management and its public acceptance, scientific and technological knowledge must be accessible for all. The Urban Water Atlas for Europe presents scientific and technical information in an intuitive and creative way, making it easy for everyone to understand what is at stake and act accordingly.” (Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the European Commission’s in-house science service, Joint Research Centre (JRC)

The Atlas recommends two online tools that can be used by cities to ensure sustainable water management.

1. “Online-Tool City Blueprints”

“City Blueprints” is an interactive tool that measures the performance of your own water management and provides helpful tips for improvement. It consists of three essential framework conditions:

A.) Trends and Pressures Framework (TPF – main challenges of cities)
What are the biggest challenges of cities?
B.) City Blueprint® Framework (CBF – running the water cycle)
Is the current water management of the cities sufficient?
C.) Governance Capacity Framework (GCF)
In which areas can water management be improved?

Detailed City Blueprint reports have already been published for numerous cities, including Dar se Salaam, Istanbul, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam), Melbourne, Quito (Ecuador) and Ahmedabad (India). A comprehensive report on water management in more than 45 cities and regions can be found here. The performance of the cities was measured using 25 factors and displayed in scores from 0 to 10. We have selected some examples for you as follows:


Cities lacking
basic water services
Water efficient
Resource efficient
and adaptive cities
Dar es Salaam Ankara Oslo Amsterdam
Kilamba Kiaxi Istanbul Lyon Berlin
Belem Varna Bologna Rotterdam
Galati Reykjavik Budapest Stockholm
Ho-Chi-Minh City Genova Helsinki
Ljubljana Eslov
Melbourne Helsinborg
New York Kristianstad
Jerusalem Maastricht


Not a single city has made it into the highest category, the “water wise cities”. The city of Amsterdam has performed best with 8.0 out of 10 points, and holds an outstanding position in integrated water resources management (IWRM) worldwide. In 2006 the various urban water services in Amsterdam were brought under one roof. Waternet was created – the first water provider in the country, dedicated to the management of the entire water cycle. Waternet is responsible for surface water, groundwater, rainwater, drinking water supply and sewage treatment. This uniformed access to water management has proven to be very beneficial for the city of Amsterdam and is, among other things, one of its main features. The detailed city blueprint report of the city of Amsterdam can be found here.

2. “Online-Tool City Amberprint”

“City Amberprint” is a practical, communicative tool that helps cities to become smart and sustainable. It evaluates the advances of cities in terms of energy, transport and information technology and provides further steps to help you become smarter and more sustainable in these three areas.

Would you like to know how your city is performing and get tips for improvement? Click here to start the test!

What’s the score of your cities water supply?

The Urban Water Atlas is the fruit of collaboration between the Commission’s Science and Knowledge Service – the Joint Research Centre, Fundació CTM Centre Tecnològic, KWR, Utrecht University, the European Innovation Partnership on Water (EIP Water), and the Network for Water in European Regions and Cities (NETWERC H2O). The atlas was created within the framework of the BlueSCities project, funded under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation scheme.

Still, some European cities have not been given their score jet, including austrian cities. However, you can create such an blueprint report yourself, very simply and with little effort, for your city/water supply. Here is how it works:

a.) You create a profile here
b.) You log into your account
c.) You fill out the general information about your city (Fig. 1)
d.) You answer 25 relevant questions concerning the water supply of your city (Fig. 2)
e.) You receive the score as well as a graphic representation of your city’s blueprint (Fig. 3)
f.) You may already download the report or
g.) You can wait for Water Share to validate your data first

Would you like to know how your cities water management compares to other cities? Click here to start the test!

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