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Purpose /Framework

Purpose and scope of the guide

Countless tools and methods have been developed for strategic planning. Some of the most prominent methods focus on a particular part of the strategic planning process. Take SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) for example: this method is commonly used for identifying the internal and external factors that may be favourable or unfavourable to achieving a certain vision. But it does not deal with the preceding step of defining the vision itself, or the subsequent step of designing a strategy. It is thus only one element of a comprehensive planning process.

Therefore it is important to design a roadmap for a strategic planning, and is why we have organized all the TRUST products in a simple path. The guideline considers the classical stages of the roadmapping process (Scoping, Forecasting, Backcasting and Transfer) and allows representatives of the UWCS to identify individual pathways for sustainable water cycle services in the future. The purpose is to help and guide urban water utilities into a TRUST path by suggesting the documents and tools that will best meet their specific needs within the TRUST project. In order to achieve this in an easy, intuitive and quick way, the guidance is done based on a 9-basic-steps diagram, which intends to translate the path into the TRansitions to the Urban Water Services of Tomorrow (TRUST).

Since the guidemap tool intends to address all the normal steps through the TRUST process, the scope of this guidance tool is quite wide, evolving all water-related identities.


The European project initiative TRUST produces knowledge and guidance to support transitions of Urban Water Cycle System (UWCS) of tomorrow and enables communities to achieve sustainable, low-carbon water futures without losing service quality. The design and planning process towards a sustainable UWCS on the level of an individual urban system in TRUST is following the framework of “roadmapping”. A roadmap enables the planning and implementation of the path to achieve desired objectives, while serving as an excellent communication tool. Roadmaps link strategy to future actions and explicitly incorporate a plan for needed capabilities and technologies to be in place at the right time.

This roadmap guideline illustrates diverse aspects in water supply and waste water management in terms of sustainability with its five TRUST sustainability dimensions: social, environment, economic, governance and assets. Also, it is defined as an iterative four-stage process, consisting of Scoping, Forecasting, Backcasting and Transfer, under which 9 basic steps were arranged.

SCOPING: Defining the search area and target setting

Scoping defines the scope of analysis in terms of system descriptions and boundaries. It provides a baseline understanding of the UWCS status quo and elements. This stage identifies relevant actors, asset structures, today’s status and the impact of existing pressures and trends on the individual UWCS.

In this stage 2 basic steps where defined:

FORECASTING: Envisioning UWCS in a future world

Forecasting creates a vision of the sustainable UWCS of the future – in the TRUST project the reference year is in 2040. It furthermore projects future scenario(s) of the external system and their potential impact on the UWCS. The rationale of forecasting is to project current trends into the future, to anticipate potential barriers and to obtain a perspective for a future scenario in 2040. It is a very creative working stage, translated into 2 basic steps of the TRUST guidemap:

BACKCASTING: Projecting possible visions back into present

Backcasting looks iteratively back from the envisioned future state of the UWCS and works backwards via (at least one) intermediate state(s). Backcasting identifies the needs for a multi-step transition from today’s status quo to intermediate states and from intermediate state(s) to achieve the future desired state (vision 2040). The backcasting stage is defined in 3 of the 9-basic-step diagram, with the 7th step being also integrated in the Tranfer stage:

TRANSFER: Creating the roadmap

The stage of Transfer translates the identified measures into transfer action fields. This includes chronological information, recommendation with milestones, responsible actors and so on. The final steps of the guidemap used in this tool are focused in this stage:

Additional information

For more information on the TRUST project or the concept of the roadmap used in this tool, please see: