Sustainable water management is a challenge for the future, as is the question what role technology may play in this. In the framework of the Netherlands interdepartmental research programme Sustainable Technological Development a pilot study has been carried out on the feasibility of a sustainable urban-water chain. Relevant unsustainability factors have been analysed to decide in what way sustainability of the water system might be increased. The starting point was a reduction by a factor of 20 for realisation in the year 2040. Relevant ideas have been processed into scenarios. In the four scenarios emphasis has been placed on reduction of emissions into the water chain, reduction of water consumption, minimal pollution (source reduction) and on small-scale. When the ideas have been realised in the ‘zero emission’ scenario, a substantial reduction of unsustainability may be realised. The attendant technological changes need to be developed.

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