World’s first holistic tool to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions from urban water services launched

ECAM, a tool for the water sector to transition towards energy and carbon neutrality

The Energy Performance and Carbon Emissions Assessment and Monitoring (ECAM) tool enables water utilities to measure and manage their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy consumption at a system-wide level. By identifying areas to reduce GHG emissions, increase energy savings and improve overall efficiencies to reduce costs, ECAM offers a holistic approach for urban water utilities to shift to low energy, low carbon water management.

The water sector can make significant contributions to the Paris agreement target of keeping global temperature rise to well below 2º, and the respective Nationally Determined Contributions, although awareness of this opportunity is currently limited.

“The contribution of the water sector to greenhouse gas emissions is complex and therefore often under-recognised”, said Astrid Michels, Project Manager of the Water and Wastewater Companies for Climate Mitigation (WaCCliM) project that has developed the ECAM tool, “ECAM helps utilities develop an emissions baseline, identify areas of improvement to reduce indirect and direct emissions, and monitor progress over time.”

ECAM is a free and open source tool that has been successfully piloted by utilities in Jordan, Mexico, Peru and Thailand that participate in the WaCCliM project, to achieve dramatic reductions in GHG emissions:

San Francisco del Rincón, Mexico, has achieved almost a 50% reduction of its total GHG emissions compared to the baseline established with ECAM in 2014. This has been achieved through treating more wastewater to reduce methane emissions and improving pumping efficiency. Additional measures have been identified that would lead to a reduction of 65% in total emissions.

Cusco, Peru, has saved 5,300 t CO2 emissions per year, representing 20% of its total carbon emissions. A total GHG reduction potential of 30% has been identified through greater pumping efficiency and wastewater reuse.

Chiang Mai, Thailand, has used ECAM to establish a baseline for municipal wastewater treatment and identify a 12% GHG reduction potential.

Madaba, Jordan joined WaCCliM in 2016 and is using ECAM to assess its carbon footprint to unlock financing for low carbon water and wastewater infrastructure to help meet its GHG reduction potential.

In addition to the pilots, utilities in over 20 cities have now used the ECAM tool to assess and drive GHG reductions. ECAM was recently endorsed by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group as a means to empower cities around the world to measure the emissions of their urban water, identify and plan reduction measures, and shift to a low-carbon, resilient future.

Ricardo Cepeda-Marquez, Head of the Water & Waste Initiative at C40 CITIES, said: “As cities and water utilities recognize the significant opportunities to reduce GHG emissions, improve service quality, water and energy efficiency in water supply and wastewater treatment, tools like ECAM are helping them to focus on the areas of largest potential impact and economic return. The C40 Cities organization looks forward to collaborate on the WaCCliM Project to increase the ambition of cities and water utilities to reduce emissions in the water sector and to contribute towards meeting the Paris Agreement targets.”


Notes to Editors

ECAM is a free and open source tool developed by the International Water Association (IWA), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA).

ECAM is a central component of the WaCCliM project, part of the International Climate Initiative. The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.

ECAM tool development was based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories methodology. It provides the opportunity to develop scenarios and model reduction impacts of future measures, as well as to monitor GHG reduction results after their implementation. It can help utilities prepare for future reporting needs on climate mitigation. ECAM also assists in linking Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of mitigation actions in the water sector to national level.

For further information please visit or contact:

Marta Jiménez, Tel: +31 631.934.081; email:

Astrid Michels, Tel: +49 6196 79 – 3248; email:

Los vínculos entre el cambio climático y el agua que consumimos son múltiples. Los procesos de captación, tratamiento y distribución del agua a los usuarios pueden verse afectados por los efectos del cambio climático. Sequías, precipitaciones intensas o huaicos suelen afectar los servicios de agua potable y saneamiento, alterando la disponibilidad y calidad del agua y afectando la infraestructura de las empresas prestadoras de servicios de saneamiento (EPS).

Asimismo, brindar agua potable a la población y tratar las aguas residuales puede demandar mucha energía, cuyo consumo depende fuertemente de la antigüedad de las instalaciones, la tecnología de tratamiento y la topografía, entre otros. A nivel mundial, el consumo de electricidad representa entre 10 y 35% de los costos operativos de las empresas, generando emisiones de dióxido de carbono. Además, el tratamiento de las aguas residuales puede producir elevadas cantidades de metano y óxido nitroso, aumentando el impacto en términos del calentamiento global y en la huella de carbono de una EPS.

Esta relación agua-clima se ha subestimado tanto a nivel global como en el Perú – un país particularmente vulnerable a los impactos del cambio climático. Si bien está casi ausente en la agenda política, el tema alberga un gran potencial para impulsar un cambio positivo hacia la adaptación y mitigación del cambio climático.

El proyecto global Empresas de Servicios de Agua y Saneamiento para la Mitigación del Cambio Climático (WaCCliM, por sus siglas en inglés), financiado por el Ministerio Federal de Medio Ambiente, Protección de la Naturaleza, Obras Públicas y Seguridad Nuclear de Alemania (BMUB), apoya a las empresas de agua y saneamiento en su camino hacia la mejora de la eficiencia energética y reducción de su huella de carbono, demostrando así cómo el sector agua y saneamiento del Perú puede contribuir al logro de compromisos globales asumidos por el país como las Contribuciones Nacionales Determinadas (NDC).

Continúe leyendo el impacto de WaCCliM en la empresa piloto en Perú.


Energy-saving water purification methods in Peru and Mexico are protecting the climate and cutting costs.

Water and sanitation companies are among the largest consumers of energy, particularly in developing countries and emerging economies. They also emit higher levels of greenhouse gases than necessary, and thus harm the climate. Their costs are also needlessly high. This is due in part to obsolete technology and systems. In many cases, there is also a lack of knowledge of how to reuse wastewater and recover energy and nutrients. For example, wastewater can be used to produce biogas or converted into fertiliser.

In Mexico and Peru, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting companies and authorities in modernising the water sector and improving carbon emissions. GIZ is carrying out the project on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). This is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) and is supported by the International Water Association.

With GIZ’s support, energy-efficient pumps and other modern technology have been installed at initial sites in Mexico and Peru. This will reduce the energy requirements of the plants and ensure that the water is cleaned more effectively, which is also important for the countries’ carbon footprints: untreated wastewater produces three times the level of greenhouse gas emissions as treated wastewater.

One water and sanitation company in Peru has managed to cut its carbon emissions by 20 per cent already thanks to the project’s various measures. In conjunction with the increased production of biogas, this equates to a reduction of 5,300 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. In the future, the company also aims to convert the biogas into electricity using cogeneration. This would cut energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a further 650 tonnes.

The Mexico-based company working with GIZ has almost halved its greenhouse emissions, while doubling the connection rate to the sewage treatment plant. Thanks to more efficient pumps and optimised energy production from biogas, the company has managed to cut its energy costs for wastewater treatment by 25 per cent, despite an additional 52,000 people being connected to the sanitation system.

*This article was originally published in GIZ website: 

Join us in World Water Week to learn more about the WaCCliM pilots:

How water utilities can contribute to climate mitigation solutions

Sunday 27 August | 14.00-15.30 | Room: NL 253

This event launches the Energy performance and Carbon emissions Monitoring and Assessment Tool or ‘ECAM Tool’, a carbon accounting tool for water and sanitation services targeted at emerging economies and developed under the WaCCliM project. The ECAM tool can be used to calculate emissions and identifies potential areas to reduce emissions considering all components of the urban water cycle from water supply, wastewater treatment, sludge management as well as water reuse. Utilities from more than 20 cities worldwide have used ECAM in this pilot phase of WaCCliM.

Learn more:


Water to mitigate climate change: Beyond the obvious

Tuesday 29 August | 16:00-17:30 | NL Music Hall / Musiksalen

This event aims at clarifying the links between water, energy and mitigation and will showcase concrete technical and institutional low-carbon solutions in the field of water. It will take into account the larger international framework including the Sustainable Development Goals as well as the Paris Agreement on Climate, showcasing that water is a key connector to reach those ambitious targets.

Learn more here:

Representatives from water and wastewater companies in Jordan started the year with a training workshop that transferred knowledge and has built capacity on how water and wastewater utilities can address climate change. The water sector has the potential to become a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) through energy efficiency, renewable energy production and recovery of nutrients. The training was organised by the project WaCCliM (Water and Wastewater Companies for Climate Mitigation). It focused on modelling hydraulic systems and assessing the climate and energy performance of water and wastewater utilities.

The water sector is increasingly being impacted by climate change. At the same time, it contributes up to 10 percent of global carbon emissions. Jordan is the world ́s third most water-scarce country. Energy consumption accounts for around 83 percent of Jordan’s national emissions and 15 % of these are attributed to the water sector. Water pumping is responsible for the majority of this consumption and is estimated to increase twofold by 2030. Jordan is therefore facing a long-term need to reduce its water and energy consumption.

The training workshop, hosted by the Water, Energy and Environment (WEE) Center at the University of Jordan in Amman from 23 to 26 January 2017, aimed to strengthen capacity building, and to support the application of technical tools, in the field of climate change mitigation and carbon footprint reduction in water and wastewater utilities. It was held in partnership with the Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ), the Jordan Water Company Miyahuna, and the WEE center from the University of Jordan.

Participants of the training workshop; Photo: The Water, Energy and Environment Center – The University of Jordan (JU-WEEC)

16 participants learned about modelling hydraulic systems and assessing GHG emissions of water and wastewater utilities using the Energy Performance and Carbon emissions Assessment and Monitoring (ECAM) tool. ECAM was developed by WaCCliM, and is an innovative tool for quantifying GHGs in water and wastewater utilities. It identifies areas of improvement within the urban water cycle and is unique using the holistic approach. Linking water and climate to reduce GHG emissions in the water sector and how utilities access climate finance have been also discussed. Trainers from the International Water Association (IWA) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH facilitated the workshop.

The training allowed participants to sharpen their approach towards hydraulic models to better describe water and wastewater systems in Jordan. The knowledge acquired during the workshop enhances the overall understanding of GHG emissions, highlighted opportunities to reduce emissions within water and wastewater systems, as well as measures and procedures that improve the carbon balance of utilities. The International Climate Initiative (IKI) funds the WaCCliM project since the end of 2013.

This article was originally posted on the IKI website

GIZ recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Wastewater Management Authority (WMA) at Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment for the Thai-German cooperation on ‘Water and Wastewater Companies for Climate Mitigation (WaCCliM-Thailand)’.

The project is part of the global WaCCliM project that includes Thailand, Mexico and Peru and aims atimproving the carbon balance of water and wastewater utilities through the introduction of greenhouse gas reduction technologies. WaCCliM is a joint initiative between GIZ and the International Water Association (IWA), acting on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). It runs from January 2014 to January 2019.