Water bodies are highly stressed by overdrafts of water for many purposes upstream and in the cities, and effluent domination and excessive point and diffuse pollution downstream. Pollution is also caused by the urban landscape which prefers impervious rather than porous surfaces; fast-conveyance infrastructure rather than “softer” approaches like ponds and vegetation; and stream channelization instead of natural stream courses, buffers and floodplains, and development in the floodplains. In future, the comprehensive and complex problems of urban pollution must be solved within the framework of the total hydrological cycle concept. This provides a new impetus to diffuse pollution management in urban areas. The best management practices that have been developed in the past could become key components of the new urban total hydrological cycle paradigm for solving the water shortage and pollution problems in an integrated manner, and making the urban systems hydrologically and ecologically sustainable. The paradigm will include landscape changes (less imperviousness, more green space used as buffers and groundwater recharge) as well application of the best management practices that provide water conservation, storage and reuse.

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