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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Approaches to Sustainable Urban Water Management for Lima City

Fiorella Pino-Luna

Approaches to Sustainable Urban Water Management for Lima City


Lima is the largest and second driest city in the world after Cairo. However, in terms of water resources, between these two cities, there is a big difference: Cairo has 2,830m3/s from the Nile River and Lima has only 25m3/s from the Rímac River. At the moment, Lima is considered an emerging megacity due to its fast growing population, which adds further pressures and challenges to the city water management. Within this context, this research aims to identify the challenges to Lima city in water management, and highlight the options to tackle these while taking into account sustainability and resilience approaches.

The premise of this research assumes that technocratic approaches are insufficient for achieving sustainability, but a comprehensive association between technologies, the natural environment, social structures and economic considerations is needed. First this research looks into the social, environmental and economic aspects that influence the sustainable urban water management (SUWM) approach. Second, it identifies Lima’s current water and wastewater management status and its challenges. Third, this study draws on a number of novel alternatives that consider sustainability and resilience approaches while responding to the challenges facing Lima.

The methods adopted are based, firstly, on a comprehensive and critical review of Lima’s water sector (resources, production, strategies and future projections), water governance structures and current water management practices. Secondly, having SUWM as an analytical framework, theories and lessons learned from other cities will be used as reference to Lima’s context. Thirdly, a critical analysis is conducted. This analysis collates the conclusions of this research, Lima’s key drivers for change and vulnerabilities in relation to SUWM practices. The analysis reveals that most of the challenges faced when endeavouring to achieve a comprehensive SUWM in Lima city are related to socio‐institutional rather than technical constraints.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.