Like all countries across the globe, Norway is not immune to climate change. Increased precipitation and extreme weather events in the country mean that water and wastewater systems have a growing vulnerability to water-related risks, which has led to the need for adaptation approaches to be adopted. Bergen, the rainiest city in Europe, considers stormwater a resource. The city is shaped by decades of giving stormwater time and space, with emphasis on nature-based solutions and interdisciplinary collaboration.
Bergen aims to be Norway’s greenest city and a pioneering city with regards to environment, sustainable development and climate adaptation. Specific targets include becoming fossil free by 2030 and a 1.5-degree city by 2050, having zero-emission construction sites by 2025 and increasing climate adaptation through blue-green infrastructure.
The Bergen case clearly illustrates the Climate-Smart Utilities philosophy and pillars. It features key climate adaptation actions, including the development of a Municipal Stormwater Management Plan based on integrated stormwater management and blue-green infrastructure; it embraces mitigation actions, with a particular focus on energy efficiency, circular economy, and actions to tackle water losses; and finally, it shows utility’s championship in undertaking a successful communication campaign targeting citizens to promote sustainable behaviour and reduce water demand.
Lessons learned from this case study include the need for climate adaptation to be interdisciplinary, integrated and based on a vision shared by all relevant stakeholders. Bergen Water sees climate footprint calculations and stormwater as key alleys in its mitigation and adaptation journey, showing a commitment to science-based decision-making. Finally, national and international knowledge-sharing is seen as a crucial success enabler.