Project 3.1

Resilient water governance

As part of workstream 3, this project is about the governance of resilient water systems. We will develop a water governance approach and tool that improves the resilience of the urban water system.


We aim to encourage collaboration between stakeholders on the implementation of water policies to improve resilience and develop tools to assist them to do this effectively and alongside the City Water Resilience Framework. The technical partners, Arup and SIWI are industry leaders in this area and have been cooperating to influence global best practices. This project aims to ensure all our governance work takes a resilience lens.

A two-day framing workshop designed to align the partners as used to initiate this project. Project grantees Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), We are telescopic, and Arup, worked together to define the project and co-create a definition of success and associated milestones / decision gateways. OECD has recently joined this project on a secondment basis.

Fieldwork was delivered with 700 people from five cities and we had remote engagement with a further three cities. This learning was brought together at the Global Knowledge Exchange (GKE) in August 2019. Hosted at Lloyd's Register Foundation's headquarters, it also provided essential input and information for the validation of the digital collaboration tool OurWater. The event also hosted a lively debate over the value of resilience.


Outcomes from this project are included in the City Water Resilience Approach.

Funded by The Resilience Shift and the Rockefeller Foundation, this approach and suite of supporting tools has been developed by Arup and the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) with support from 100 Resilient Cities and OECD. These resources are now available online to download along with the individual reports for Amman, Cape Town, Hull, Manchester, Mexico City, Miami, Rotterdam and Thessaloniki.

The City Water Resilience five-step Approach and suite of resources helps cities to collaboratively build resilience to local water challenges. Eight cities with different water concerns contributed to its development.

A changing climate coupled with rapid urbanisation has resulted in unpredictable rainfall, flooding, droughts and other water-related shocks and stresses on cities. The City Water Resilience Approach can inform how water programmes and projects are planned, designed, implemented and maintained to improve outcomes for urban populations who rely safe water systems for their health and wellbeing. It can be used by public and private organisations including cities, utility companies, local and national government bodies, and other stakeholders.

“This Approach sets a new standard for securing urban water resilience and improving the quality of water services for our communities. It will give cities the ability to make better planning and investment decisions through a collaborative approach to their city’s resilience to water challenges.” Dr Mark Fletcher, Global Water Leader, Arup


Project Leader

Louise Ellis
Project Leader

Louise is a Senior Civil Engineer who has worked on water resilience and sustainable development projects worldwide. She was awarded a Forbes Europe 30 under 30 award in 2016 and the Jubilee Scholarship.

How are we doing this?

  • Raising awareness of the stakeholders involved in the catchment and highlight the impacts on individual stakeholders and the governance system during shocks and stresses.
  • Developing an approach to align resilience goals across stakeholders to allow for collaborative action on resilience initiatives.
  • Enabling the development of effective and inclusive water policies to improve resilience with a wide range of stakeholders and encourage collaboration between stakeholders on the implementation of water policies to improve resilience.

What are the outputs?

We aim to publish peer reviewed reports and guidance and achieve the soft launch of the tool, now known as OurWater.

The Resilient Water Governance approach has been disseminated and tested at key events including:

  • Resilience Shift / City Water Resilience Framework Global Knowledge Exchange event hosted at Lloyd’s Register Foundation in August 2018.
  • World Water Week in August 2018, the annual event organised by SIWI with 3,000+ delegates
  • Bellagio Centre Conference convening in November 2018.

Project Resources


Global Engineering Congress presentation introducing the OurWater tool (under its working title, "WaterShare") from the City Water Resilience Framework and the Resilience Shift.

Overview pack

Whether Miami, Amman, Mexico City, Hull or Cape Town, cities face resilience water governance challenges. This detailed presentation explains the aims and programme plan for this focused work on resilience water governance from the Resilience Shift initiative.

City water resilience

Dr Mark Fletcher's keynote presentation to the Institute of Asset Management's Annual Conference 2018. The Resilience Shift has been supporting fieldwork and workshops around water governance that feed into this presentation. The City Water Resilience Framework is being developed by the Rockefeller Foundation and Arup.


SIWI is supporting the governance section of the UN Synthesis Report, by developing a framework for governance analysis across the SDG6 and supporting analysis and recommendations. In 2017, they produced guidance for resource governance in connected river basin-coastal areas, for Global Environmental Facility investments and a conceptual framework for source-to-sea governance.

Arup has launched the City Water Resilience Framework with the Rockefeller Foundation. It has also produced a water governance map for Yorkshire, UK, which includes all stakeholders involved in flood and coastal management, water supply, sewerage and drainage and water treatment.

We are telescopic – We are telescopic has been selected on a competitive tender, based on price and quality.

OECD has recently joined this project on a secondment basis.

SIWI sofa

We are delighted to have hosted a SIWI sofa event on the 2018 World Water Week to discuss the City Water Resilience Framework and Governance for Resilient Urban Water Systems project as part of World Water Week.  Our SIWI Sofa session aimed to showcase our work on urban water resilience including an introduction to the City Water Resilience Framework. We wanted to capture the challenges our partner cities face, the value of the framework for the cities as well as sharing our successful fieldwork missions and the project next steps. Watch the video.