Climate Smart Water and Wastewater Companies
Title: Water and Wastewater Companies for Climate Mitigation (WaCCliM)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) in the context of the International Climate Initiative (IKI)
Country: Global with measures in Jordan, Mexico, Peru and Thailand
Lead executing agency: Jordan: Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MWI), Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ);
Mexico: Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT; Secretaría del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales), National Water Comission (CONAGUA; Comisión Nacional del Agua);
Peru: Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation (MVCS; Ministerio de Vivienda, Construcción y Saneamiento); Thailand: Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE)
Overall term: 2013 to 2022
Water and wastewater companies are among the largest consumers of energy in developing countries and emerging economies. This can partly be attributed to high losses of water (50-60 per cent) and energy (40 per cent). Many water and wastewater companies in Jordan, Mexico, Peru and Thailand use outdated and energy-intensive treatment technologies and pumps. In addition, opportunities for recovering energy and nutrients from wastewater are not exploited.
By using pumps that are more energy-efficient, reducing water losses, producing biogas and reusing treated wastewater, the companies could reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, become more resilient to the consequences of climate change and cut costs. However, the partner countries often lack the necessary know-how for developing and implementing climate risk plans in the water sector. Moreover, there are no methods or incentives to support water and wastewater companies in introducing mitigation approaches.
Water and wastewater companies contribute to low-carbon and climate-friendly water sectors in the partner countries.
The project introduces technologies to reduce greenhouse gas in water and wastewater companies, thus improving their CO2 balance. Furthermore, it supports climate protection efforts in the water sector by integrating the water and energy sectors with regard to emission reduction and climate resilience.
In four partner countries, the project develops strategies for a climate-friendly, low-emission water sector. Together with the respective executing agencies, the project team agrees on measures that consider all components of the urban water cycle, and optimises them in terms of reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In collaboration with the International Water Association (IWA), the team has developed the ‘Energy Performance and Carbon Emissions Assessment and Monitoring’ (ECAM) tool. ECAM is a web-based evaluation tool used to assess potential energy and greenhouse gas savings. This tool makes it possible to measure the water sector’s contribution to climate protection.
In the partner countries, the project works with experts and managers, advising them on how to improve the political, regulatory and institutional conditions in the water sector. The advice focuses on the wider dissemination of successful greenhouse gas mitigation approaches, support in implementing national mitigation strategies, and the introduction of appropriate financing and monitoring mechanisms.
In order to consolidate and further spread technical expertise for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks at water and wastewater companies, the project supports the development of partnerships among companies and networks the employees of the partner operations with other companies. The lessons learned by the companies and authorities are input into international guidelines for water and wastewater companies. IWA makes these available on a virtual knowledge platform and distributes them through international water networks and events.
In addition, training seminars on the ECAM tool are provided to engage decision-makers and staff at the water and wastewater companies in the fight against climate change in the water sector.
Optimisation measures at one municipal wastewater treatment facility in Mexico, for example, succeeded in reducing its carbon footprint by 40 per cent. This corresponds to a reduction of around 2,500 tons of CO2 equivalent per year. CO2 equivalents are specified to indicate the different impacts of various greenhouse gases (such as methane and nitrous oxide).
In the city of Cusco in Peru, circa 5,300 tons of CO2 equivalent are saved each year through optimised sewage sludge treatment. At the same time, there is an initiative for the electrical utilisation of biogas. This will avoid approximately 550 tons of CO2 equivalent and save around 250,000 euros each year.
For the Jordanian pilot company in the city of Madaba, measures and saving potential for greenhouse gas reduction have been identified in the areas of biogas utilisation, pump efficiency, renewable energies and water loss reduction. By installing variable frequency drives and energy-efficient pumps, the water supplier saves around 1,000 tons of CO2 equivalent per year.
More than 300 water professionals from the partner countries have participated in training seminars on climate mitigation in the water sector and on the ECAM tool.