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Politecnico di Milano

Sustainable Urban Water Systems

Solutions for Sustainable Water Management in Resilient Smart Cities

Introduction to the sustainability series

This MOOC is part of the series on “Sustainability”, which is one of the world’s major challenges of today and tomorrow and requires multidisciplinary competences. The series provides technical knowledge on a variety of topics, such as sustainable building, energy transition, water management and food waste prevention.

Discover all the MOOCs of the “Sustainability” series on Pok4Professionals.

If you are a PoliMI student cd you have to log in using your Person Code. This is the only way to prove your participation in this course for official recognition.

Course description

The MOOC “Sustainable Urban Water Systems” aims to provide knowledge about modern and sustainable solutions for urban water management in water-sensitive cities. The focus is on stormwater control and water supply strategies for the mitigation of effects on the water cycles due to human settlements and climate change. In particular, the integration of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) into urban drainage systems, the use of alternative water resources, and the reduction of losses and waste, make cities more resilient and add benefits to both the environment and community.

The first week gives an overview of water cycle alteration in urban areas due to human settlement and climate change.

The second week focuses on nature-based solutions for urban stormwater management to achieve resilience in front of evolutionary risks.

The third week focuses on strategies for sustainable water supply, in terms of reduction of losses and waste, rainwater harvesting, and alternative water resources.

Total workload of the course: 6 hours

This MOOC is provided by Politecnico di Milano.

Information about fees and access to materials

You can access the course absolutely free of charge and completely online.

Course materials will remain available to all enrolled users after the end of the current edition, so they can return to content later. The current course edition will be followed by a new one just after its end.

Learning schedule

The course is structured in 3 weeks.

  • Week 1 – The Water Cycle in Urban Areas: Natural Processes and Human Activities
  • Week 2 – Water Sensitive Cities: Increasing Resilience to Evolutionary Risks
  • Week 3 - Sustainable Water Supply Strategies

Intended Learning Outcomes

By actively participating in this MOOC, you will achieve different intended learning outcomes (ILOs).

Week 1

  1. Discuss urban water cycle alterations caused by human settlement
    ESCO: water consumption
  2. Describe the impact of human activities on water resources
    ESCO: estimate consumption of water
  3. Identify climate change effects on rainfall and runoff in urban areas
    ESCO: develop water supply schedule

Week 2

  1. Describe Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems to Restore the Natural Water Cycle in Cities
  2. Compare Nature-Based Solutions for recovering from Human Impacts on the Water Cycle
    ESCO: Water reuse
  3. Identify strategies to Make Cities Water Resilient to Evolutionary Risks
  4. Discuss the role of Green Roofs and Vegetated Walls for Stormwater Management
    ESCO: rainwater management
  5. Describe the role of Permeable Pavements for Flood Risk Mitigation
    ESCO: develop flood remediation strategies
  6. Describe bio-retention areas for Flood Risk and Water Pollution Mitigation
    ESCO: pollution prevention
  7. Explain how to plan Water Square and Blues Roofs for Stormwater Management
    ESCO: water policies
  8. Classify Infiltration Systems for RainWater Control

Week 3

  1. Identify Sustainable Water Supply Strategies for Water Sensitive Cities in order to make them Resilient to Climate Changes
    ESCO: follow water supply schedule
  2. Identify strategies to Balance Water Availability, Needs and Uses in Urban Areas
  3. Discuss Solutions to reduce Water Loss and Waste
    ESCO: Conserve water resources
  4. Describe the Use of Non-conventional Water Resources for Sustainable Water Supply
    ESCO: inform on water supply
  5. Explain how to plan Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse as Alternative Source of Water Supply


No prerequisite knowledge is required for this course.


Over and above consulting the content, in the form of videos and other web-based resources, you will have the opportunity to discuss course topics and to share ideas with your peers in the Forum of this MOOC.


The final grade for the course is based on results from your responses to the quizzes you will find at the end of each week (weekly quizzes). You will successfully complete the course if you reach 60% (or more) of the total score by the end of the edition. The course’s total score will be calculated by averaging the scores of the assessed quizzes for each individual week.

Certificate of Accomplishment

The Certificate of Accomplishment will be released to anyone who successfully completed the course by achieving at least 60% of the total score in the assessed quizzes. You will be able to download the Certificate of Accomplishment directly from the website.

Once you have successfully passed the course, you can request the Certificate of Accomplishment without waiting for the end of the edition.

The Certificate of Accomplishment does not confer any academic credit, grade or degree.

European Qualifications Framework Level

EQF Level 5

Thematic area (ISCED-F classification)

This MOOC belongs to the following thematic areas:

  • 0712 Environmental protection technology
  • 0732 Building and civil engineering

Discussion forum

The forum of this MOOC is freely accessible and participation is not guided; you can use it to compare yourself with other participants, or to discuss course contents with them.

Contact details

If you have any enquiries about the course or if you need technical assistance please contact For further information, see FAQ page.

Course Faculty

Gianfranco Becciu

Gianfranco Becciu

Prof. Gianfranco Becciu, PhD, P.Eng. Associate professor at Politecnico di Milano. Fellow of Wessex Institute of Technology, UK. Vice President of CSDU - Centro Studi di Idraulica Urbana (Research Facility on Urban Hydraulics). His scientific interests are in the field of Hydrology and Water Engineering, particularly focused on: - Sustainable management of stormwater in urban areas - Flood risk forecasting and mitigation - Water supply planning and optimization He is the author of 2 books on Water Engineering (in Italian) and of more than 100 publications, among which about 50 are papers published in indexed peer-reviewed international journals.

Mariana Marchioni

Mariana Marchioni

Researcher fellow at Politecnico di Milano in the Water Science and Engineering Section (SIA) of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (DICA). Main research interests are stormwater management, sustainable urban drainage systems, nature-based solutions, rainfall-runoff modelling. Obtained the PhD in 2018 with the thesis “Porous pavements: runoff quantity and pollutants load”, during the program spent a research period in the University of Florida, USA. Before focusing on research, worked in the market development department of the Brazilian Association of Portland Cement being responsible for the permeable pavement project and other projects related to building sustainability. Prepared the first draft and participate on the development of the permeable pavement Brazilian Standard (ABNTNBR 16416).

Anita Raimondi

Anita Raimondi

Researcher (RTDA) and lecturer of Water Engineering at the Water Science and Engineering Section (SIA) of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (DICA) of Politecnico di Milano. Master's degree in Civil Engineering (110/110 cum laude) and Ph.D. in Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering at Politecnico di Milano. The main research fields are stormwater control and management, nature-based solutions and rainwater harvesting, and analytical-probabilistic approach for storage modeling. Author of several publications in refereed scientific journals and symposium proceedings. Reviewer for indexed peer-reviewed international journals. Guest Editor and Co-Editor of Special Issues for the journal Water and member of the Topical Advisory Panel for the section Urban Water Management.

Umberto Sanfilippo

Umberto Sanfilippo

Prof. Umberto Sanfilippo, PhD. Full Researcher at Politecnico di Milano Head of Sector of the Flowmeters Calibration Service at Politecnico di Milano Treasurer of CSDU - Centro Studi di Idraulica Urbana (Research Facility on Urban Hydraulics) His scientific interests are in the field of Hydrology and Water Engineering, particularly focused on:- Sustainable management of stormwater in urban areas; - Flood risk forecasting and mitigation; - Testing of flowmeters. He is the co-author of 2 books on Water Engineering (one in Italian and one in English) and of more than 100 publications.

Creative Commons License
This course is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License except where otherwise specified.

  1. Classes Start

    Mar 27, 2023
  2. Classes End

    Mar 17, 2024
  3. Length

    3 weeks
  4. Estimated Effort

    1-2 hours/week
  5. Language

  6. Course Number

  7. MOOCs For Professionals