Towards a water-smart society: Progress in linking theory and practice

Elsevier, Utilities Policy, Volume 85, December 2023
Damman S., Schmuck A., Oliveira R., Koop S.S.H.A., Almeida M.D.C., Alegre H. et al.

Few scientific publications discuss the vision of the water-smart society. Our paper addresses this gap, outlining key principles of urban water–smartness and translating them into five strategic objectives to support decision-making at the local government level. Based on recent literature and dialogue with six European water Living Labs, we argue that the water-smart society must highlight societal well-being and co-development across sectors. Furthermore, we emphasize the need for a long-term perspective, conserving nature, and maximising ecosystem services, while anticipating change. Finally, we discuss how a more grounded conceptualisation of the water-smart society can guide utilities and urban policy design.