Hull one of five cities worldwide chosen for water resilience framework project

Hull is one of five cities in five continents chosen for a global water resilience study

The city of Hull in Yorkshire is among five cities selected by civil engineers Arup to take part in a project funded by the philanthropic Rockefeller Foundation to help develop a global framework for water resilience

The five cities selected from five continents – Amman (Jordan), Cape Town (South Africa), Mexico City, Greater Miami and the Beaches (United States), and Hull (United Kingdom) – were selected because they represent the range of water challenges facing cities around the world. They are also diverse in terms of size of population, geographic location and economic status and because of their commitment to taking a strategic approach to resilience.

The City Water Resilience Framework (CWRF) is being developed by Arup with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, to help cities better prepare for and respond to shocks and stresses to their water systems in the years to come.

As part of this partnership, the project will explore each city’s specific water concerns through field research and stakeholder interviews conducted with Arup. Data and findings will be used to establish qualitative and quantitative indicators to measure city water resilience, for use in any city anywhere. The resulting City Water Resilience Framework will be a global standard for water resilience, which enables cities to diagnose challenges related to water and utilize that information to inform planning and investment decisions.

Dr. Mark Fletcher, Arup Global Water Leader: “A changing climate coupled with rapid urbanisation is increasing the frequency of water related crises facing cities. Increasingly, unpredictable rainfall, flooding and droughts are impacting cities across their water cycle. To develop a global framework we’ve selected five diverse cities, all facing very different water challenges. By understanding a wide range of issues, being played out in different contexts, we will be able to help all cities to understand how to assess the risks they are facing, and how to prioritise action and investments to become more resilient.”

Four of the five cities are already among the European Union’s 100 Resilient Cities project, a scheme pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, which helps cities around the world become more resilient in the face of physical, social and economic challenges.

City Population Notes
Amman, Jordan 4 million Not located near sources of water, Jordan’s capital city regularly experiences drought. It also experiences unusually heavy rains, leading to flooding in the lower-lying areas of the city.
Cape Town, South Africa 3.7 million Has been experiencing severe drought, due to three years of low rain fall. Officials have warned that there are fewer than 90 days left before the city’s water supply runs dry.
Mexico City, Mexico 21.3 million Mexico’s rapidly growing capital city is heavily reliant on underground aquifers, and is at serious risk of running out of water in the future. The city is also located on land that was once a lake, making it particularly prone to flooding.
Greater Miami and the Beaches, Florida, USA 5.9 million The area’s coastal location, with a high groundwater table and complex canal system, makes it particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels. Tidal flooding events are already becoming increasingly common, causing significant disruption.
Hull, Yorkshire, UK 323,000 With 90 per cent of the city standing below the high-tide line it is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels. The city has experienced extensive flooding in recent years.


The development framework is being overseen by a Steering Group with representatives from the Rockefeller Foundation, 100 Resilient Cities, the World Bank, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) and The Resilience Shift.

Andrew Salkin, Senior Vice President of City Solutions at 100 Resilient Cities, said: “Of the more than 1,000 applications for the 100 Resilient Cities Network, more than 60 per cent indicated challenges with water – too much or too little – as critical resilience risks. “There is tremendous opportunity for the cities in this cohort to provide lessons and expertise to the many cities around the world grappling with water challenges.”