At the same time water and sanitation services are lagging behind and infrastructure systems are often in dire need of repair or replacement. While the majority of Local and Regional Authorities is in charge of providing water and sanitation services for their populations, they are also responsible for a much broader palette of water-related tasks, including local economic development, provision of energy, ensuring adequate access to food, poverty reduction, environmental management, resilience to climate change and disasters, and addressing public health issues.
Since 2006, Local and Regional Authorities have been joining forces to promote sustainable practices in water management through dedicated events at the triennial World Water Forums. In 2009, at the Fifth World Water Forum, Local and Regional Authorities endorsed the Istanbul Water Consensus, expressing their commitment to sustainable urban water management. Since then, over 1,000 Local and Regional Authorities from all around the world have signed the Consensus.