With the widespread realisation of the significance of climate change, urban communities are increasingly seeking to ensure resilience to future uncertainties in urban water supplies, yet change seems slow with many cities facing ongoing investment in the conventional approach. This is because transforming cities to more sustainable urban water cities, or to Water Sensitive Cities, requires a major overhaul of the hydro-social contract that underpins conventional approaches. This paper provides an overview of the emerging research and practice focused on system resilience and principles of sustainable urban water management Three key pillars that need to underpin the development and practice of a Water Sensitive City are proposed: (i) access to a diversity of water sources underpinned by a diversity of centralised and decentralised infrastructure; (ii) provision of ecosystem services for the built and natural environment; and (iii) socio-political capital for sustainability and water sensitive behaviours. While there is not one example in the world of a Water Sensitive City, there are cities that lead on distinct and varying attributes of the water sensitive approach and examples from Australia and Singapore are presented.

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