Aquatic Habitats in Sustainable Urban Water Management: Urban Water Series - UNESCO-IHP, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Aquatic Habitats in Sustainable Urban Water Management

Urban Water Series - UNESCO-IHP, 1st Edition

Edited by Iwona Wagner, Jiri Marsalek, Pascal Breil

CRC Press

256 pages

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Aquatic habitats supply a wide range of vital ecosystem benefits to cities and their inhabitants. The unsustainable use of aquatic habitats, including inadequate urban water management itself, however, tends to alter and reduce their biodiversity and therewith diminish their ability to provide clean water, protect us from waterborne diseases and pollutants, keep urban areas safe from flooding, and support recreational ecosystem services and even the aesthetic enjoyment of our world.

Aquatic Habitats in Sustainable Urban Water Management – the result of collaboration between UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme and its Man and the Biosphere Programme – aims at improving our understanding of aquatic habitats, related ecosystem goods and services, and conservation and sustainable use – with a special focus on their integration into urban water management. The first part of this volume reviews basic concepts and challenges in urban aquatic habitats, as well as strategies for their management integration. The second part examines technical measures related to habitats management and rehabilitation, along with their incorporation into urban planning and their role in human health. The final part looks at current urban aquatic habitat issues and practical approaches to solving them through the lens of case studies from around the globe.

Urban Water Series - UNESCO-IHP

Following from the Sixth Phase of UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (2002–2007), the Urban Water Series – UNESCO-IHP addresses fundamental issues related to the role of water in cities and the effects of urbanization on the hydrological cycle and water resources. Focusing on the development of integrated approaches to sustainable urban water management, the Series should inform the work of urban water management practitioners, policy-makers and educators throughout the world.

Table of Contents


List of Figures xiii

List of Tables xv

Acronyms xvii

Glossary xxi

1 Introduction to urban aquatic habitat management 1

1.1 Impact of global processes on water resources in cities 1

1.2 Aquatic habitats in integrated urban water management: How are they managed or mismanaged? 2

1.3 Comments on urban aquatic habitat management: Restoration, preservation, rehabilitation or remediation? 4

1.4 Structure of this book 5

2 Urban aquatic habitats: Characteristics and functioning 9

2.1 Characteristics of aquatic habitats 9

2.2 Human modifications of aquatic habitats 11

2.2.1 Flow regime 12

2.2.2 Physical habitat structure 13

2.2.3 Biotic interactions 13

2.2.4 Food (energy) sources 14

2.2.5 Chemical variables (water quality) 14

2.2.6 Factor interdependencies 15

2.3 Background on aquatic ecosystem functioning 15

2.3.1 Conceptual model of aquatic ecosystem functioning 16

2.3.2 Definition of objectives for preservation or rehabilitation of aquatic ecosystems 19

2.3.3 Selecting preservation or rehabilitation measures 21

3 Strategies, policies and regulations integrating protection and

rehabilitation of aquatic habitats in urban water management 25

3.1 Strategies for protection and rehabilitation of urban aquatic

habitats 25

3.1.1 Sustainable development 26

3.1.2 Ecosystem approach 27

3.1.3 Measuring progress towards sustainability: Criteria and indicators 28 UN Division for Sustainable Development indicators (2006) 28 Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI): Yale University and Columbia University, 2005 28 Pillar-based sustainability criteria 30

3.1.4 Urban environmental management approaches 30 Low impact development (LID) 31 Total management of the urban water cycle (TMUWC) 32 Soft path for water 33

3.2 Regulations and policies driving the implementation of strategies for urban aquatic habitat’s protection and rehabilitation 34

3.2.1 Approaches focusing on aquatic habitat protection 34

3.2.2 Approaches focusing on water quality protection 35

3.2.3 Integrated regulations and policies addressing aquatic habitats 37

3.2.4 Additional observations concerning developing countries 38

3.2.5 Emerging challenges 39

4 Ecosensitive approaches to managing urban aquatic habitats and their integration with urban infrastructure 43

4.1 Urban water cycle and aquatic habitats 43

4.2 Habitat interactions with water supply 45

4.2.1 Managing water import into urban areas 45

4.2.2 Impacts on aquatic habitats imposed by water reservoirs 47

4.3 Habitat interactions with urban drainage and flood protection 49

4.3.1 Urban drainage: Problem definition and needs for management 49 Urban drainage impacts on aquatic habitats 49 Overview of aquatic life support conditions in urban waters impacted by stormwater discharges 51 Need for stormwater management 51

4.3.2 Urban drainage: Stormwater management goals 52

4.3.3 Tools for effective stormwater management 53 Guidelines and targets 55 Technological measures (BMPs) 55

4.3.4 Promotion of modern stormwater management 56

4.3.5 Flood protection 58

4.4 Habitat interactions with wastewater management and sanitation systems 59

4.4.1 Basic demands on wastewater management systems 60

4.4.2 Wastewater systems without separation of waste streams at the source 61

4.4.3 Water and wastewater reuse for environmental benefits 62

4.4.4 Technology and site selection 63

4.5 Concluding observations 64

5 Aquatic habitat rehabilitation: Goals, constraints and techniques 71

5.1 Assessing the ecological potential of the river 71

5.1.1 Buffering mechanisms 71

5.1.2 Methods for river state assessment 72 Bioassessment 72 Physical and geomorphological assessment 74

5.2 Techniques in urban river rehabilitation 74

5.2.1 Rehabilitation of hydrological dynamics of river habitats 76 Attenuation of peak flows using in-catchment or on-watercourse storage reservoirs 76 Managing the high-flow regime in floodplains and riverbeds 78 Assurance of minimum flows during dry weather 78 Flattening of the river longitudinal grade 79

5.2.2 Rehabilitation of the physical structure of river habitats 79 Re-meandering straight watercourse sections 79 Stream bank management and maintenance 82

5.2.3 Reconstruction of biotic structure 82 In-stream vegetation: The use of aquatic plants 84 Bank and riparian vegetation: The role of land/water ecotones 85

5.2.4 Phytoremediation 86

5.2.5 Increasing capacity of urban habitats for water and nutrient’s retentiveness 87

5.3 Improving the likelihood of success in the implementation of rehabilitation projects 88

6 Ecohydrology of urban aquatic ecosystems for healthy cities 95

6.1 Introduction 95

6.2 Ecohydrology concept and principles 96

6.2.1 Genesis of the concept 96

6.2.2 Creating opportunities for the degraded environment 97

6.3 Ecohydrology for the urban environment 99

6.4 Multidimensional benefits of the ecohydrological approach for the urban environment and the society 100

6.5 Implementation of the ecohydrological approach 102

7 Integrating aquatic habitat management into urban planning 107

7.1 Biodiversity and the emergence of sustainable development practices in urban landscape planning 107

7.2 The need for inventories of aquatic habitats 108

7.3 Incorporating wetlands and rivers into urban planning and layout 109

7.4 The role of aquatic habitats in facilitating urban biodiversity conservation 110

7.5 Trading ecosystem integrity with provision of goods and services in an urban context 115

7.6 Use and application of ecological buffer areas in the management of urban aquatic ecosystems 117

7.6.1 Defining ecological buffers 117

7.6.2 The function of ecological buffers 118

7.6.3 Defining buffer width 120

7.6.4 The moderating effect of urban layout and land-use on requirements for buffers 122

7.6.5 Realities of implementing requirements for buffer areas 122

7.7 Tools to assist in the integration of, and tradeoffs between, social, ecological, Engineering and economic requirements in urban areas 123

7.8 Conclusions 123

8 Human health and safety related to urban aquatic habitats 129

8.1 Introduction 129

8.2 Water bodies as sources of raw water and wastewater sinks 129

8.3 Microbiological risks and their control 131

8.3.1 Drinking water 131

8.3.2 Bathing waters 133

8.3.3 Disease vectors 133

8.4 Chemical risks and their control 134

8.4.1 Anthropogenic compounds 134

8.4.2 Algal toxins 136

8.4.3 Sewage sludge use as an option for the control of chemical risks 137

8.5 Drowning and other water-related risks of aquatic habitats 138

8.6 Integrated water risk management 138

8.6.1 General 138

8.6.2 Water Safety Plans (WSP) 139

8.6.3 Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) 140

8.7 Conclusions 141

9 Integrated management of urban aquatic habitats to enhance

quality of life and environment in cities: Selected case studies 147

9.1 Introduction 147

9.2 Moddergat river rehabilitation and flood management project Cape Town, South Africa 150

9.2.1 Background 150

9.2.2 Key aquatic habitat issues in urban water management 151

9.2.3 Objectives of the case study and method of implementation 152

9.2.4 Project results 154

9.2.5 Stakeholders and their roles in the project 155

9.2.6 Conclusion and recommendations 156

9.3 Rehabilitation of the Wasit Nature Reserve, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates 157

9.3.1 Background 157

9.3.2 Key aquatic habitat issues in urban water management 158

9.3.3 Objectives of the case study 159

9.3.4 Implementation of the project and involved stakeholders 160

9.3.5 Project results 162

9.3.6 Conclusion and recommendations 163

9.4 The ecohydrological dimension of small urban river management for stormwater retention and pollution loads mitigation: Lodz, Poland 165

9.4.1 Background 166

9.4.2 Key aquatic habitat issues in urban water management 168

9.4.3 Objectives of the case study 169

9.4.4 Project implementation and results 170

9.4.5 Stakeholders and their roles in the project 174

9.5 Integrating ecological and hydrological issues into urban planning in the Adige River fluvial corridor, Italy 176

9.5.1 Background 177

9.5.2 Key aquatic habitat issues in urban water management 179

9.5.3 Objectives of the case study 180

9.5.4 Project results 181

9.5.5 Project implementation 181

9.5.6 Stakeholders and their roles in the project 185

9.5.7 Conclusion and recommendations 185

9.6 Assessing Stream bio-assimilation capacity to cope with combined sewer overflows, Lyon, France 187

9.6.1 Background 187

9.6.2 Key aquatic habitat issues in urban water management 188

9.6.3 Objectives of the case study 189

9.6.4 First steps of implementation: assessment of bio-assimilation capacity 190

9.6.5 Project results 190

9.6.6 Stakeholders and their roles in the project 192

9.6.7 Conclusions and recommendations 192

9.7 Optimization of the river hydrological regime to maintain floodplain wetland biodiversity, Lobau Biosphere Reserve, Vienna, Austria 193

9.7.1 Background 193

9.7.2 Key aquatic habitat issues in urban water management 196

9.7.3 Objectives of the case study 197

9.7.4 Expected results 198

9.7.5 Project implementation and stakeholders 198

9.7.6 Conclusion and recommendations 198

9.8 Integrated management of aquatic habitats: Urban Biosphere Reserve (UBR) approach for the Omerli Watershed, Istanbul, Turkey 200

9.8.1 Background 200

9.8.2 Key aquatic habitat issues in urban water management 201

9.8.3 Objectives of the case study 205

9.8.4 Expected results 205

9.8.5 Project implementation and stakeholders 206

9.8.6 Conclusion and recommendations 207

9.9 Description of the ecology and water management in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Arizona, USA 209

9.9.1 Background 210

9.9.2 Key aquatic habitat issues in urban water management 212

9.9.3 Objectives of the case study 216

9.9.4 Potential stakeholders 217

9.9.5 Expected results 217

9.9.6 Conclusions 217

Index 225

About the Series

Urban Water Series

Volumes 1-9, Series Editors: Cedo Maksimovic (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London, London, UK) and Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa (Division of Water Sciences, International Hydrological Programme (IHP) UNESCO, Paris, France).
Volumes 10-onwards, Series Editor: Cedo Maksimovic (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London, London, UK).

This book series covers integrated approaches to sustainable urban water management and focuses on the role of water in cities and the effects of urbanization on the hydrological cycle and water resources. The series is intended not only for water and environmental specialists, including urban water management practitioners, policy-makers and educators, but also for other professionals such as urban planners, water economists and researchers dealing with urban water issues throughout the world. Volumes 1-9 (series editors Cedo Maksimovic and Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa) are available in hardback and paperback, are co-published by Taylor & Francis and UNESCO Publishing and present the major outcomes of UNESCO’s Sixth International Hydrological Programme (IHP VI, 2002-2007). Volumes 10 and onwards (series editor Cedo Maksimovic) are available in hardback. The series complements the Urban Water Journal, likewise published by Taylor & Francis (

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Ecology
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / Water Supply