The paper discusses issues related to the development of future scenarios appropriate for preparing robust, sustainable urban water management strategies. A discussion of existing approaches to future scenarios and their use in water management at an urban rather than catchment scale is included, from conventional to more radical, and their critical comparison is attempted. The paper presents a framework for scenario-variants generation and provides examples of its possible implementation in a component analysis of urban water management. Four major components of urban water are selected (stormwater, drinking water, wastewater and their integration through recycling) and their possible evolution under seven different scenarios is examined by means of regulatory, social, economic, environmental and technical drivers. It is anticipated that this work will further support the growing interest in providing tools for long term strategic planning into an uncertain future.