Partnerships for enhancing the water-saving culture in Zaragoza, Spain

Impacts of climate change coupled with the rapidly increasing world population have resulted in declining per capita availability of water resources. This situation has escalated in urban areas where over 50% of the global population lives since 2007. To cope with the situation, urban water managers need to adopt Integrated Urban Water Resources Management concepts, one of which is demand management. This paper describes how Fundación Ecología y Desarrollo, an environmental NGO spearheaded and coordinated a project whose objective was to improve efficient water use in Zaragosa, Spain. Two phases of the project ‘Zaragoza, a water-saving city’ were implemented between 1997 and 2003, in which stakeholders from government, private sector, civil society and households worked together to enhance the city’s water-saving culture. Key achievements of the project were reduction of over 5% in annual domestic water use and mapping of good practices for efficient water use in non-domestic sectors. This study shows that given a dedicated and competent champion, various stakeholders could be mobilised to adopt more efficient uses of water. This model could be adapted in other cities for demand management programmes.