City leaders in Africa face converging challenges: extending water and sanitation services for growing populations, managing risks of watershed degradation and competing water demands outside city jurisdiction, and designing for climate resilience. They are challenged to build urban water resilience, where communities have enough safe, reliable, and affordable water they need to survive and thrive through sustainable, adaptive, and resilient urban water systems.

The WRI Urban Water Resilience initiative works to help cities overcome water challenges through research to illuminate urban water resilience challenges and pathways, partnerships with cities to enhance capacity and demonstrate solutions, and collective action to improve enabling environments.

This initiative is being led by WRI Africa, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, the WRI Water Program and partners. Together, these programs and offices provide experience in creating accessible, equitable, healthy and resilient urban areas for people, businesses and the environment as well as working with businesses, governments and civil society to ensure a water-secure future by addressing water quantity, quality and governance challenges.

The Urban Water Resilience in Africa Initiative is currently working with six cities.

Find each city's water resilience profile below (these will become available in the coming year):

  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Dire Dawa, Ethiopia
  • Kigali, Rwanda
  • Musanze, Rwanda
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Gqeberha, South Africa

WRI helps African cities build water resilience through:

  • Research to illuminate urban water resilience challenges and pathways: Research under the Urban Water Resilience initiative is enhancing awareness and understanding of urban planning, water resources management, governance, finance, and infrastructure design, with a focus on resilience for vulnerable populations.
  • Partnerships with cities to enhance capacity and demonstrate pathways: WRI is partnering with a cohort of six cities and their regional and national governments, supporting cities to advance their water resilience agendas, providing technical assistance, and facilitating capacity building.
  • Collective action to improve enabling environments: WRI is mobilizing collective action through engagement with key stakeholders, including regional governments, financial institutions, and research institutions.