The Water Sensitive Cities in Israel Vision

The way we manage urban water shapes almost every aspect of our urban environment and quality of life.


A water sensitive city adopts and integrates decentralized and centralized water management solutions.  Urban water is managed in a way that will ensure water security, reduce flood risk, protect aquifers and urban streams, improve the urban climate and landscape, and reduce the carbon footprint of the city.

A water sensitive city is based on three main principles:

1. A City that is a Water Supply Catchment –  A water sensitive city views stormwater as a water resource, and not as a nuisance that must be removed from the city.  The city is seen as a water supply catchment that has the potential to offer a variety of water sources.   In the current state of affairs, when rain falls in a city, the stormwater (runoff) picks up pollutants as it flows over the city streets, and in addition may cause severe flooding.   A water sensitive city manages this stormwater and converts it into a safe and plentiful water resource for public use, resulting in significant savings for the city.  The city uses water sensitive urban design (WSUD) and planning, along with green technologies.

2. A City that Provides Ecosystem Services – A water sensitive city is one whose built environment functions to supplement and support the natural environment.  The city works to protect the health of its ecosystem (including public parks, urban streams, beaches, and the sea).  It converts open public space into parks and green areas, and creates vegetated traffic islands, etc.  These areas function as the city’s “green lungs” and can be used to harvest, purify and store stormwater, thereby preventing the pollution of downstream water bodies while increasing biodiversity.

3. A City with Community Involvement  – In a water sensitive city, the residents participate in decision making that enables sustainability in their city.  There is communal awareness and involvement due to the residents’ desire to improve their quality of life.  Citizens have the knowledge and the will to make good water-related decisions – by acting to conserve water, to protect water quality and prevent pollution of water bodies.

The vision of “Water Sensitive Cities in Israel” is still to be shaped in the context of Israel’s specific physical, climatic and societal needs.  Israel, with its varied topography and climate and diverse population as well as its distinguished history, will develop its own path to transition to a sustainable urban water future.