Executive Summary

Municipal Public Reports





Best Practices




The Sustainable Municipal Water Management Initiative is the current priority area under the Green CiTTS (Cities Transforming Towards Sustainability) Program. See the above Report and Executive Summary for the 2012 update on the program's status. Further updates will be released in June 2015. 


6 Principles of Sustainable Municipal Water Management


What is Sustainable Municipal Water Management?

In the face of the cumulative impacts associated with urbanization, intensive agricultural activity,  and climate change, municipalities are increasingly embracing an integrated approach to water management that captures the full spectrum of a community’s impact on water. This approach cuts across traditional municipal delivery areas, to include infrastructure design and operations, land use planning and approvals, public education and participation, emergency planning and response, pollution prevention, and habitat and shoreline restoration.

This shift in water management, from a narrower operational focus on water service delivery and wastewater treatment, to a broader notion of ‘sustainable water management’ marks a change that is already taking place within Cities Initiative member municipalities, one that will take time to fully adopt, involving continuous improvement, innovation and evaluation.

The declaration adopted by the Cities Initiative membership reflects this broader responsibility for protecting our water resources. The Sustainable Municipal Water Management Framework consists of six principles and twenty-five milestones to work towards. Indicators to measure progress have also been developed. A detailed description of these principles, milestones and indicators can be found in the report "Sustainable Municipal Water Management: Measuring Progress and Reporting Publicly."

Putting Sustainable Municipal Water Management into Action

To put this Sustainable Municipal Water Management Framework into action, the Cities Initiative is encouraging its members to measure their progress towards the Frameworks principles and milestones, and to report publicly on their progress. The first round of Sustainable Municipal Water Management Public Evaluation Reports (SPERs) will be presented at the Cities Initiative Annual Conference in Marquette,MI in June 2013. Also at the conference, awards will be presented to members for leadership and progress in sustainable municipal water management.

To support adoption of the Framework, the Cities Initiative will be hosting a number of webinars for its members on aspects of SMWM, and will share best practices  and other resources amongst Cities Initiative members. 

The Cities Initiative will also promote its SMWM framework more broadly at events and in publications.


SMWM in the News

Cities Initiative in the NewsArticle published in Novae Ras Urbis on SMWM Framework

Cities Initiative releases Sustainable Municipal Water Management Framework, adopts Declaration of Sustainable Municipal Water Management

In June 2012 at its annual conference in Quebec City, members of the Cities Initiative adopted a Declaration of Sustainable Municipal Water Management.

Also at the conference, Cities Initiative Chair Tom Barrett, Mayor of Milwaukee, WI announced the release of  the report Sustainable Municipal Water Management: Measuring Progress and Reporting Publicly’ , a Framework and Guide for Public Reporting on progress towards Sustainable Municipal Water Management.


Municipal Public Reports

Montréal, QC - Toward Sustainable Municipal Water Management, October, 2013

Durham Region, ON - Our Water is Worth It !

Progress Chart

Summary of the Report

Milwaukee, WI - 2014 Sustainable Municipal Water Management Public Evaluation Report

St. Catharines, ON - City of St. Catharines Sustainable Municipal Water Management Program

Evanston, IL - 2014 Sustainable Municipal Water Management Public Evaluation Report