Friday April 17th 2020, Water Blog

Water Resilience in Cities – how prepared are we in Ireland?

A City Water Resilience Approach (CWRA)[1]  [2] is being developed across the globe to enable cities to take a holistic view of their water systems, inform decision-makers of a strategy to take forward and collaboratively build resilience to local water challenges.

What is meant by urban water resilience is “the capacity of the urban water system, including the human, social, political, economic, physical and natural assets, to anticipate and absorb, adapt and respond to, and learn from shocks and stresses, in order to protect public health.


During this time of COVID-19, we are obviously concerned about virus spread in the community and managing that spread as well as trying to understand more about this novel coronavirus.  However, in the Institute we consider water as a really important public health issue.  And therefore we ask how resilient are Irish cities in terms of their water. This week we plotted the rainfall levels from the Phoenix Park – and from that we can see the level of rainfall for April at this stage is very low compared with other years. Taking a look at the Met Eireann website ( today, and while we are only mid-way through the month (April 2020 rainfall level 3.4 mm), the rainfall levels fall very short on levels in 2019 (75 mm) and 2018 (69 mm) measured at Dublin Airport and at Phoenix park levels measured are similar. How does this impact on our water supply resources for the coming months?

We know that in a climate crisis we will have different rainfall regimes. However, we should look at developing a City Water Resilience Plan for Ireland – perhaps we already have one, that can help during times of other crises like COVID-19.




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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Tiernan Henry
    April 27, 2020 5:04 pm

    Great idea – we should certainly be looking at using green spaces better in urban areas and using appropriate materials to help in reducing storm runoff.
    Given where our population is most dense, given the water stress that Dublin givers close to, and given the modest predictions for the east & southeast to anticipate drier summers, will we have to think more seriously about competing water demands – between ag, industry, domestic use & in-stream use


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