Relocating a city, challenges and opportunities for the transition of the water infrastructure in Kiruna

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The city of Kiruna in Northern Sweden has become known for the need to relocate major parts of the city. Current and future mining activities in the world’s largest underground iron ore mine are the cause of land subsidence that requires relocation of substantial parts of the town including its water infrastructure. Figure 1 shows the area currently affected and projections thereof for the future. The process of relocating the city has started already and will continue for a few decades. It implies the construction of new urban areas and at the same time demolition in abandoned areas. With regard to the life span of water infrastructure, all actions taken now and in the near future will have an impact over five to ten decades. These circumstances place special demands on processes and technical solutions with regard to robustness, flexibility and mobility and require dealing with changes that cannot yet be foreseen.