Water and wastewater companies for climate mitigation (WaCCliM)

Project description

Title: Water and wastewater companies for climate mitigation (WaCCliM)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) in the context of the International Climate Initiative (IKI)
Country: Global with measures in Mexico, Peru and Thailand
Lead executing agency: Mexico: Comisión Nacional del Agua (CONAGUA), National Water Commission (CONAGUA); Peru: Ministerio de Vivienda, Construcción y Saneamiento (MVCS), Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation (MVCS); Thailand: Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE); Jordan: Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ)
Overall term: 2013 to 2019



Water and wastewater utilities are among the largest consumers of energy in developing countries and emerging economies. This is partly due to high losses of water (50-60 per cent) and energy (40 per cent). Many of the utilities in Mexico, Peru, Thailand and Jordan are using out-dated and energy-intensive treatment technologies and pumps, and opportunities for recovering energy and nutrients from wastewater are not being exploited.

Energy efficient pumps, biogas production from waste water, the reuse of treated waste water, and the recycling of nutrients could help the utilities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and achieve cost savings. However, in the partner countries the necessary know-how for developing and integrating energy efficiency and energy recovery plans is often a lacking. Moreover, there are no national guidelines or incentives to support water and wastewater companies in reducing their carbon footprint.


Through the introduction of greenhouse gas reduction technologies, the carbon balance of water and waste water utilities in Jordan, Mexico, Peru and Thailand has improved, while service levels remain at least constant.


The project introduces greenhouse gas-reducing technologies to water and wastewater companies and thereby improves those companies' CO2 balance. It supports climate protection efforts in the water sector using a cross-sectoral approach known as the ‘urban nexus’, which addresses water, energy and food security in an integrated manner.

In four pilot countries, the project is developing strategies for a climate-resilient, low-emissions water sector. Together with the respective executing agencies it agrees on measures that take into consideration all components of the urban water system, and optimises them for energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In collaboration with the International Water Association (IWA), a carbon accounting tool is being developed with which it will be possible to estimate potential energy and emissions savings and which, in so doing, makes it possible to measure the water sector’s contribution to climate protection.

In the pilot countries, the project works with experts and managers, advising them on how to improve the policy, regulatory and institutional framework for the integration of emission reduction measures in the water sector. The advice focuses on the wider dissemination of the urban nexus approach, support for the implementation of national mitigation strategies and the introduction of appropriate financing strategies.

In order to consolidate and further spread the technical know-how for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the project supports the development of partnerships between utilities and networks the employees of the pilot utilities with other companies. The lessons learned by the pilot companies and authorities are fed into international guidelines for water and wastewater companies. IWA makes these available on a virtual information platform and also distributes them through international water networks and events.


When the utilities combine different technologies effectively, its is possible to exploit mitigation potentials, from the water supply through to wastewater treatment. By using biogas produced in sewage treatment facilities to generate energy, and through more energy efficient pumps, significant amounts of CO2 emissions can be reduced. The city of Cusco, in Peru, for example, has managed to avoid producing 40 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year by harnessing biogas, as well as a further 1,230 tonnes through improvements to the drinking water supply. At the same time, improved sludge management resulting in increased biogas production has helped avoid more than 4,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.


In the city of Chiang Mai in Thailand, it has been shown that 130 tonnes CO2 emissions could be saved each year, if all the measures are taken to optimise the energy efficiency of pumping stations and reduce the amount of water infiltration into the sewer network.

Optimisation measures at one municipal wastewater processing facility in Mexico achieved a reduction in its carbon footprint by 20 per cent (120 tonnes CO2 emissions per annum). In 2015, the doubling of connections to the wastewater service led to additional annual emissions reductions of 2,130 tonnes CO2. A further, 210 tonnes are saved each year through improved pumping efficiency in the drinking water supply.