Energy efficiency in water supply systems (completed)

Project description

Title: Energy Efficiency in Water Supply Systems
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Brazil
Lead executing agency: Brazilian Ministry of Regional Development (Ministério do Desenvolvimento Regional)
Overall term: 2015 to 2019


In 2014, Brazilian water supply and sanitation companies spent around one billion euros on electrical energy, consuming around 12.74 terawatt hours (TWh). This is equivalent to the annual household consumption of 22 million people in Brazil. According to the National Information System on Water, Sanitation and Solid Waste (SNIS), operated by the Ministry of Regional Development, electricity consumption and the greenhouse gases associated with it are continuing to rise.

The sector is faced with the challenge of supplying the rapidly growing population with an adequate supply of good quality drinking water. At the same time, measures must be implemented to stabilise energy consumption. The National Plan of Water and Sanitation aims to reduce water loss from the current 37 per cent to 31 per cent by 2033. In order to achieve this aim, the Federal Government of Brazil recently provided additional funds for sanitation.

Water loss in the supply networks and inefficient pumps and motors are the two main causes of inefficiency. These are also the areas where energy can be saved. The National Policy on Energy Efficiency estimates that energy consumption could be reduced by up to 4.70 terawatt hours (TWh) per year, equivalent to the household consumption of eight million people in Brazil. 


The framework conditions for increasing energy efficiency in urban water supply systems are improved.


GIZ is implementing the project on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) together with the National Secretariat of Water Supply and Sanitation under the Brazilian Ministry for Regional Development.

The project considers aspects of energy efficiency and promotes dialogue across the water and energy sectors. Key actors – such as regulatory authorities, private sector representatives and national energy efficiency programmes – coordinate initiatives to increase energy efficiency.

The project provides training and consultancy, enhancing the information that is available on energy efficiency in water supply systems and the quality of the results achieved by experts and managers in the water sector.

The project is carried out in cooperation with the consulting companies AKUT GmbH and Rotaria do Brasil Ltda. 


The (financing) Normative Instruction 39 (Instrução Normativa 39) contains guidelines for energy efficiency following the advice given by the project. A first round of tendering has been completed using this directive. This included selecting five projects with a direct relation to energy efficiency and water loss reduction. These five projects have an investment volume of over EUR 52.1 million. The funds are used to invest in the construction of water reservoirs to avoid operation at peak times, for example. Water loss is reduced by ensuring good pressure management, maintaining supply networks, replacing obsolete water meters and developing the knowledge and skills of authorities. 

The pilot project for the first learning network for energy efficiency has been completed, in partnership with the regional regulatory authority ARES-PCJ in the state of São Paulo. The learning network is an initiative that was agreed between the regulatory authority and the Ministry, with the project being involved. 12 municipalities with around 1.8 million inhabitants took part. The work and results are documented in a video. The closing event was attended by BMZ. Due to its great success, the ARES-PCJ authority is currently implementing a second learning network. 

Additional information