This study seeks to reveal how European urban water managers modify human behaviour to reduce water consumption. The thesis tests two hypotheses: First, institutions play a dominant role in empowering citizens to participate in the sustainable management of water resources. Second, human behaviour/societal changes, rather than technological changes, are the key driver of achieving the sustainable use of water resources. This study is about how European urban water resources can be managed in a sustainable way that balances water demand with supply and reduces conflict between all the sectors and users of water. However the question is: what does sustainability mean? While the term 'sustainability' has been a buzz-word in various multilateral reports, media and political commentary there is in fact no unanimous international definition of the term. The result has been the frequent branding of activities as 'sustainable' in order to justify self-serving interests. This study seeks to determine what the term 'sustainability' means and how it is applied in the context of urban water resource management. In the 21st century, the world will see an unprecedented migration of people moving from rural to urban areas: In 2012 alone, human civilisation reached a milestone with 50% of the world's population living in urban settings. This is projected to reach 80% by 2050. With demand for water expected to exceed supply by 30% in 2040, urban centres will face increased water scarcity and droughts as a result of climate change, increasing the risk of conflict between water users. As a result, there is a need to manage urban water in a sustainable way that balances water demand with supply and reduces conflict between all the sectors and users of water.
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