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Ensuring access to sustainable water sources and sanitation infrastructure will be crucial for urban sustainability initiatives. Both water supply and water quality are crucial components of the urban water cycle, including raw water collection, drinking water treatment and distribution, storm water management, wastewater collection and treatment, and water reuse. Aging built infrastructure and contamination concerns, including lead and emerging contaminants, have led to the need for multi-billion-dollar investments in urban water systems.

Globally, one person in ten currently lacks access to potable water and one person in three lacks access to basic sanitation. Water is already scarce in many parts of the world due to shifting climatic conditions. This constraint will likely escalate as competing interests maneuver toward additional access to water for domestic, agricultural, and industrial uses. Global growth in water demand for all uses is projected to increase about 50 percent by 2050, leaving three quarters of the global population facing freshwater shortages. As populations become increasingly urban, these water challenges will likely be critical in cities, requiring construction of new water infrastructure(treatment and distribution), rehabilitation of existing infrastructure, and management of competing water uses.

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