Water as Leverage Asia

The three cities where Water as Leverage started pilot a transformative design approach with a view to replicating its principles in Asia and the rest of the world. The initiative involves a dedicated group of partners from governments, financial institutions, investors, experts and innovators and community stakeholders committed to the aim of using Water as Leverage as a blueprint for other cities and regions facing water challenges.

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Setting the Scene for a Call for Action: extensive research-based document that narrows down from water-related challenges on a global level towards why we chose for the three cities in the first edition of WaL – Chennai, Khulna and Semarang. This document and its sources also provided a head start to the interested teams and generated a level playing field in terms of knowledge availability.

Call for Action document

The city specific trailer:


Chennai is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the southeastern coast of India. Recent immigration has made Chennai the fifth most populous metropolitan area in India.

As a consequence, informal peripheral settlements in low-lying coastal areas that lack access to infrastructure and services house many of the recent arrivals. This rapid increase of population also affects the expansion of impermeable soil and failure of the drainage system. Chennai’s position on the southern coast of India, which suffers from land subsidence, makes the region extremely vulnerable to flooding and landslides.

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Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities: Asia - City Report for Chennai, India (PDF in English)

City of 1000 tanks Phase 2 report (PDF in English)

RISECHENNAI | Rising Waters, Raising Futures Executive Summary (PDF in English)


Khulna is part of the largest delta in the world: the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta. Most of the delta is composed of a labyrinth of channels, swamps, lakes, and floodplains and consists predominantly of alluvial soils, making it a very fertile region.

Besides direct water issues caused by poor drainage, high baseline water stresses, seasonal river flooding, and sea level rise, the increase in salinity in the Khulna area poses another severe challenge for the sustainable development of the city: crop yields are falling and food prices are rising, threatening the city’s food security and clean water supply.

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Khulna as a water inclusive enclave - Executive Summary (pdf, in English)

Water as Leverage: Natural Drainage Solutions for Khulna City Executive Summary (PDF in English)


Semarang is a harbour city in the Indonesian archipelago with a dynamic shoreline, stemming from natural sedimentation processes and man-made extensions.

The city has always faced hazards such as drought, land subsidence, landslides, water pollution, and floods, but these are likely to become more severe and frequent as a result of climate change. This will result in higher surface temperatures, an increased rainfall intensity, rising sea levels, extreme weather patterns, and water pollution, creating income fragility, decreased food availability, and migration.

See more:

Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities: Asia - Semarang Report (PDF in English)

One Resilient Semarang - Executive Summary (pdf, in English)