Sustainaing health living conditions in the rapidly growing urban areas of the world will be a formidable challenge, and essential to the goal is the provision of safe, sustainable water supplies. Groundwater has a particular important role to play as it is by far, the world's largest source of fresh accessible water.

Where aquifers are available, groundwater is normally preferred over surface sources of water supply. A particular benefit of aquifers is that groundwater supplies can be introduced in stages, just one borehole at a time, to meet increasing private, municipal and industrial demand with minimal upfront expenditure. On the downside, there has been an increasing neglect of urban groundwater in many parts of the world and its vital function in the urban cycle is frequently overlooked and undervalued. Consequently, urban water managers fail to incorporate an adequate appreciation of groundwater in their resource management programs.