Proyectos de Perú, México, Ecuador y Brasil de la cooperación alemana para el desarrollo, implementada por la GIZ, se unieron para desarrollar la “Guía para la recuperación verde en las ciudades de América Latina”. Esta herramienta tiene como objetivo presentar el concepto de recuperación verde y las características que deberían tener los proyectos con este enfoque. Lo innovador es que este documento se basa en evidencia presentando estudios de caso desarrollados en los sectores agua, energía, residuos y transporte para impulsar el desarrollo de ciudades sostenibles, resilientes y carbono-neutrales en América Latina.

Los casos de estudios sistematizados para Perú recogen la experiencia desarrollada en el sector urbano del agua por:

La Empresa Prestadora de Servicios de Agua y Saneamiento (EPS) de Cusco – SEDACUSCO:

Para la incorporación de medidas de protección climática en la operación de sus servicios. Este trabajo se desarrolló del 2015 al 2021, con el apoyo de la cooperación alemana para el desarrollo, implementada por la GIZ, a través de WaCCliM.

La EPS de Ica – Emapica: 

Acerca de la comercialización de aguas residuales crudas con el fin de proteger el ambiente, hacer uso eficiente del agua y mejorar la gestión de las aguas residuales, entre otras. Este trabajo realizó entre 2017 y 2019, con el apoyo de la cooperación alemana para el desarrollo, implementada por la GIZ, a través de PROAGUA II.

Es importante señalar que la Guía fue financiada por el Fondo de Innovación de la Red Sectorial de Gestión Ambiental y Desarrollo Rural en América Latina y el Caribe – GADeR-ALC. Más información sobre GADeR-ALC aqui.

Usted puede acceder a la Guía a través de los siguientes enlaces:

Versión en español

Versión en portugués

Versión en inglés

Peru, Mexico, Ecuador and Brazil´ projects from the German development cooperation, implemented by GIZ, worked together to develop the “Guide for green recovery in Latin American cities”. By doing so, they became familiar with the concept of green recovery and features such projects should entail. This guide is based on evidence and insights gained on the field, presenting case studies from the water, energy, waste and transport sectors to enable the development of sustainable, resilient and carbon-neutral cities in Latin America.

The case studies systematized for Peru include the experience developed in the urban water sector by:

Empresa Prestadora de Servicios de Agua y Saneamiento (EPS) de Cusco – Sedacusco:

For the incorporation of climate protection measures in the operation of its services. This work was developed from 2015 to 2021, with the support of German development cooperation, implemented by GIZ, through WaCCliM.

La EPS de Ica – Emapica:

About the commercialization of raw wastewater in order to protect the environment, make efficient use of water and improve wastewater management, among others. This work was carried out between 2017 and 2019, with the support of German development cooperation, implemented by GIZ, through PROAGUA II.

It is important to note that the Guide was financed by the Innovation Fund of the Sectoral Network for Environmental Management and Rural Development in Latin America and the Caribbean – GADeR-LAC. More information about GADeR-LAC here.

You can access the Guide through the following links:

Spanish Version

Portuguese Version

English Version

En el Perú las sequías y precipitaciones intensas son cada vez más frecuentes a consecuencia del cambio climático y, lamentablemente, afectan la disponibilidad, cantidad y calidad del agua. Asimismo, la operación de los sistemas de suministro de agua y de aguas residuales puede generar altos niveles de emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero (GEI).

Por este motivo, existe una necesidad de que las empresas prestadoras de servicios de agua y saneamiento (EPS) desarrollen, implementen y reporten medidas de adaptación y mitigación al cambio climático, para contribuir a la sostenibilidad de la prestación de los servicios y, por lo tanto, al beneficio directo de millones de habitantes del país.

Frente a esta situación, el Ministerio de Vivienda, Construcción y Saneamiento (MVCS) del Perú con el apoyo de la cooperación alemana para el desarrollo, implementada por la GIZ, a través de los proyectos WaCCliM y PROAGUA II que además cuenta con el apoyo de la Cooperación Suiza – SECO, viene trabajando en el desarrollo de capacidades de los profesionales de las EPS, ofreciendo dos cursos e-learning para la aplicación de herramientas digitales que permitan a los prestadores de servicios desarrollar, implementar y monitorear medidas de adaptación y mitigación al cambio climático, contribuyendo de esta manera con las NDC (Contribuciones Nacionalmente Determinadas, por sus siglas en inglés) del país.

Los cursos desarrollan los siguientes módulos:

1. Introducción a la gestión integral del cambio climático en el sector agua y saneamiento 2. Instrumento para la gestión del cambio climático en las EPS
  • Módulo I: Introducción al cambio climático – alcances internacional y nacional
  • Módulo II: El cambio climático y el sector agua y saneamiento
  • Módulo I: Adaptación al cambio climático en el sector agua y saneamiento
  • Módulo II: Mitigación del cambio climático en el sector agua y saneamiento
  • Módulo III: Elaboración, actualización y monitoreo de los Planes de Mitigación y Adaptación al Cambio Climático (PMACCs)

Los cursos de capacitación tendrán una duración de 5 meses (septiembre 2021 – enero 2022). Hasta el momento son 35 EPS inscritas en el primer curso – con un total de 129 profesionales (46 mujeres). Al finalizar el proceso de capacitación, los profesionales de las EPS estarán mejor preparados para elaborar o actualizar sus PMACCs. Estos instrumentos de planificación representan el aporte del sector agua y saneamiento a las NDC del país para cumplir con los compromisos globales de reducir las emisiones de GEI y aumentar la resiliencia climática.

Enlace al aula virtual del MVCS: http://aulavirtual.vivienda.gob.pe/aulavirtual/

Foto en la cabecera: ©GIZ/ Germán Ato

In Peru, droughts and heavy rainfalls are becoming more frequent as a result of climate change and, unfortunately, affecting water availability, quantity and quality. Likewise, operating water supply and wastewater systems may generate significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Therefore, there is a need that water and sanitation utilities develop, implement and report climate change adaptation and mitigation measures; in order to contribute to the sustainability of services provision, and thus benefiting millions of Peruvians.

In this context, the Peruvian Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation (Ministerio de Vivienda, Construcción y Saneamiento; MVCS) supported by the German development cooperation, implemented by GIZ, through the WaCCliM and PROAGUA II projects, which also has the support of the Swiss Cooperation – SECO, is working on building capacity of water and sanitation utilities, delivering two e-learning courses on digital tools’ application that enable utilities’ practitioners develop, implement and report climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, thus contributing to the country’s NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions).

The courses entail the following modules:

1. Introduction to integrated climate change management in the water sector 2. Tool for climate change management in water and sanitation utilities
  • Module I: Introduction to climate change – international and national levels
  • Module II: Climate change and the water sector
  • Module I: Adaptation to climate change in the water sector
  • Module II: Climate change mitigation in the water sector
  • Module III: Developing, updating and monitoring Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Plans (Planes de Mitigación y Adaptación al Cambio Climático; PMACCs)

The training courses will last 5 months (September 2021 – January 2022). Currently, 35 water and sanitation utilities have enrolled in the first course – accounting for a total 129 professionals (46 women). At the end of the training process, practitioners of water and sanitation utilities will be better prepared to develop or update their PMACCs. These planning instruments constitute the water sector’s contribution to the country’s NDC to meet the global commitments of reducing GHG emissions and increasing climate resilience.

Link to MVCS virtual classroom: http://aulavirtual.vivienda.gob.pe/aulavirtual/

Picture in header: ©GIZ/ Germán Ato

WaCCliM’s ‘Energy Performance and Carbon Emissions Assessment and Monitoring’ (ECAM) tool enables water and wastewater utilities to assess their carbon footprint and energy consumption, while revealing areas of improvement. As utilities around the world adopt the tool, WaCCliM has rolled out an advanced upgrade with ECAM 3.0, launched last week.

By identifying areas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy savings and improve overall efficiencies, ECAM offers a holistic approach for urban water utilities to shift to climate-smart water management. It also prepares these utilities for future reporting needs on climate mitigation. Intended for utilities of all sizes and in all countries, the tool is free, open source, and available now on the WaCCliM website.

Utilities do not have to collect any special data or create an account to plug into ECAM. The tool works with the operational data that utility managers and operators use every day. If some data is unavailable, ECAM provides complementary assumptions based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) models. WaCCliM has developed ECAM from the start to be consistent with the IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories and peer-reviewed literature.

What can utilities do for the climate?

Water and wastewater management are energy intensive processes that cause greenhouse gas emissions whenever fossil energy sources are used. In addition, wastewater management can be a source of methane and nitrous oxide – both highly potent greenhouse gases. As cities everywhere grow and urban water demands rise, utilities have to act fast to avoid even higher emissions. Those that succeed can make a significant contribution to national mitigation plans and the global effort against runaway climate change.

For utilities that face this challenge, ECAM is a powerful analytic tool. It allows them to assess energy performance and carbon emissions throughout the urban water cycle, from abstraction and distribution to wastewater treatment and sludge management, adapting to the scope of analysis of each utility. It represents the first step toward a smart and sustainable urban water system with lower emissions and lower vulnerability to the local impacts of climate change. Moreover, it allows users to check and update the equations for accounting greenhouse gases, making users co-protagonists of the tool.

Utilities in more than 20 countries – as geographically diverse as Burkina Faso, Egypt, Jordan, Mexico, Peru and Zambia, among others – have put ECAM into action. These companies use it to understand emissions at a system-wide level and to evaluate where energy is consumed at each stage, with visualizations and reports allowing them to easily identify opportunities to cut emissions and simultaneously cut costs. It helps them develop scenarios, model reduction impacts of planned or implemented measures, report mitigation achievements, and even develop ideas for bankable projects such as biogas valorization or wastewater reuse.

Finally, WaCCliM is expecting to extend the use of ECAM to support urban water utilities in reducing carbon emissions systematically and strategically to assure business continuity and sustainable and effective water management under a changing climate.

 

Climate change is impacting a wide range of sectors, with water being one of them. Even though, over 2 billion people live in countries that are already experiencing high water stress [1], by 2050 around 52 % of the world’s population is projected to live in water-stressed regions [2]. Climate change is projected to reduce renewable surface water and groundwater resources significantly in most dry subtropical regions and negatively impact freshwater ecosystems by changing streamflow and water quality [3]. Water stress is not the only challenge brought on by climate change. By 2030, the number of people impacted by floods might double worldwide [4], causing damage to urban water systems. At the same time, water and wastewater utilities contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions, with emissions coming especially from energy consumption (often by burning fossil fuels), wastewater collection, wastewater treatment, wastewater discharge and sludge management.

Scientific evidence is now pointing at the impacts of climate change on water utilities worldwide. A 10 years scientific study in Norway suggests that extreme weather events contribute to poor raw water quality [5]. Also, impacts in wastewater utilities in countries like New Zealand have been reported to fit in 3 categories: Nuisance flooding spills and odor, water quality deterioration and damage to infrastructure [6]. Climate change will affect water resources generally through increasing temperatures, sea-level rise, shift in the precipitation patterns, changes in snow cover, and the increase in the frequency and intensity of flooding and droughts, which might cause a shortage in urban water supplies and damage to infrastructures [3].These hazards occur with different intensities depending on regional and local variables, which is why urban water utilities need to assess climate risks individually.

A climate risk assessment is the first step for resilient water management, which is a prerequisite for successful climate change adaptation. Once water and wastewater utilities have identified and prioritized their most critical climate risks and critical thresholds, adaptation actions can be implemented to confront climate change impacts. Examples of these measures include: Building traditional or nature-based flood barriers to protect infrastructure, diversifying water supply, wastewater reuse, improving water storage, identifying and repairing water leaks, relocating facilities to higher elevations, among others [7]. International donors and funding mechanisms provide climate funding for adaptation measures. These include among others the Global Environmental Facility, the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund. At the same time, other financial mechanisms such as taxes and subsidies could contribute to financing adaptation measures in urban water utilities.

Climate Risk Management in Indonesia. Photo Credits: GIZ

Restoring and managing natural and artificial ecosystems and water storage systems sustainably could be our best ally for climate adaptation in the water sector. Groundwater aquifers, if sustainably managed, can store excess water and guarantee water provision in times of drought. Jordan for instance, is highly dependent on groundwater resources and faces increasing water demand. This has led to reduced groundwater availability, the salinization of groundwater resources and the collapse of biodiverse natural water reserves such as the Azraq wetland reserve. More than 80% of Jordan is unpopulated due to desert conditions, where annual precipitation falls under 50 millimeters, and yet the country is projected to become drier under climate change [8]. Therefore, in order to safeguard the strategic function of groundwater aquifers for the urban water sector in times of overexploitation, these must be conserved through sustainable water withdrawals and aquifer recharge practices.

Qunli Stormwater Wetland Park in China. Photo credits: Turenscape

Moreover, adaptation measures could include Nature-based Solutions (NbS) which involve protecting, restoring or sustainably managing natural or modified ecosystems to improve resilient water and wastewater management. Common NbS for enhancing raw water availability, quality and protect infrastructure from flooding include among other activities basin and mangrove reforestation, aquifer recharge, urban lagoons, rainwater capture and artificial wetlands. Nature-based Solutions have the potential to address climate resilience challenges while bringing additional multiple benefits such as clean water, clean air, climate regulation, biodiversity, food and water security.

Finally, it is necessary to switch from a response-based action to an anticipatory climate risk planning to avoid reaching critical thresholds where impacts are intolerable. As water and climate change do not have borders and a single actor cannot effectively address complex water issues, cross-sectorial cooperation and a participatory approach are key for climate resilience.

We all depend on a reliable supply of clean drinking water and efficient wastewater systems to sustain our health. Therefore, water and wastewater utilities are key agents and need to ensure business continuity through considering climate risks in their strategic planning, operations and cross-sectorial initiatives.

[1] UN (2018): SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2018 on Water and Sanitation.
[2] MIT (2014): Predicting the future of global water stress.
[3] IPCC (2014): Freshwater resources. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Field, C.B., V.R. Barros, D.J. Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandrea, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L.White (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, pp. 229-269.
[4] WRI (2020): The Number of People Affected by Floods Will Double Between 2010 and 2030.
[5] Herrador, B.R.G., De Blasio, B.F., MacDonald, E., Nichols, G., Sudre, B., Vold, L., Semenza, J.C. & Nygård, K., (2015): Analytical studies assessing the association between extreme precipitation or temperature and drinking water-related waterborne infections: a review. Environmental Health, 14(1), pp.1-12.
[6] Hughes, J., Cowper-Heays, K., Olesson, E., Bell, R., & Stroombergen, A. (2020): Impacts and implications of climate change on wastewater systems: A New Zealand perspective. Climate Risk Management, 100262.
[7] EPA (2020): Adaptation actions for water utilities.
[8] World Bank Group (2021). Climate Knowledge Portal. Last accessed on June 7, 2021.

The first system in Peru to produce clean energy from municipal sewage is in the city of Cusco. The water utility – SEDACUSCO decided to use the resources derived from the city´s  sewage treatment – sludge and biogas, to reduce sewage treatment´s energy costs and lessen environmental impacts.

In 2014, SEDACUSCO supported by the Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation and the German development cooperation, implemented by GIZ, through the WaCCliM project, started operating an anaerobic digester for treating sludge and producing biogas on a continous basis. In this way, SEDACUSCO attained a steady reduction in the amount of untreated sludge disposed of. In 2020, SEDACUSCO avoided about 7,804 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year (t CO2 e/year), equal to 5,574-passenger flights from Lima – Frankfurt – Lima. Meanwhile, the biogas was flared and released into the atmosphere without valorization.

As of March 2021, SEDACUSCO based on the German experience, is pioneering in turning biogas into thermal and electrical energy, that will supply all of the San Jerónimo plant´s electrical need to treat the sewage and become energy – autonomous. The inauguration of this biogas-powered clean energy production system, took place on 25 March, and was attended by the Minister of Housing, Construction and Sanitation alongside other officials from the Ministry, regional and local governments of Cusco, and SEDACUSCO itself.

With the implementation of this new system, SEDACUSCO will save EUR 260,000 in annual electricity costs and use the biogas avoiding 544 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year (t CO2e/year) in addition to the emissions avoided by the sludge treatment.
This initiative is the first of its kind in the country and will serve as an example for other water utilities. A key aspect was SEDACUSCO’s ownership of this new approach – considering sludge as a resource rather than waste; and thus addressing not only its challenges in sludge management, sewage treatment and clean energy generation but also reducing its carbon footprint.

In the future, for scaling up and replicating such initiatives, it will be required to assess the potential if residual sludge (digestate) can be used as an organic compost and surplus produced energy can be exported for usage beyond the plant. Moreover, to leverage financial resources and strenghten capacity to adapt and implement the technology to different country´s contexts. The bottom line is that Peru’s water utilities are moving forward in the carbon neutral transformation of their operations.

Picture in header: The energy production system fuelled with biogas in the city of Cusco ©SEDACUSCO

In the fight against climate change, anaerobic digestion and biogas could take an important role as renewable energy sources. Biogas can be converted into electricity and heat through cogeneration, making it resource efficient and sustainable. But what role does biogas play with respect to climate mitigation in the urban water sector?

Potentials for greenhouse-gas reduction and energy savings in the water and wastewater sector

The impacts of climate change pose a threat towards water supply and sanitation systems. In order to ensure functioning water and wastewater management under those changing conditions, the urban water sector must find solutions to adapt to the risks brought on by climate change. At the same time, the provision of potable water and the treatment of wastewater also contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Water and wastewater systems are energy intensive and can account for as much as 40% of municipal energy use[1], while this energy often comes from burning fossil fuels. Water losses lead to even higher energy consumption, and untreated or poorly treated wastewater emits methane and nitrous oxide, gases with much higher global warming potential than carbon dioxide. Fortunately, there are many opportunities for improving the carbon footprint of water and wastewater companies by updating their technologies and management processes into more energy-efficient systems, as well as recovering energy and nutrients from wastewater.
This is where the implementation of cogenerators for biogas production in wastewater utilities can be of great use as, on average, the energy content of wastewater is five to ten times higher than the energy that is used for its treatment. Up to 0.56 kWh/m3 can be produced from sewage sludge in theory, however this number is significantly lower in reality, due to inefficiencies in the digestion process and electricity conversion. Biogas can be used to produce electricity, fuel or heat, either to meet the plants own demand or to be fed into a district heating grid. Generally, small plants with a capacity of <5 million liters per day cannot generate biogas in a cost-effective way, whereas plants with a capacity of >5 million liters per day can only generate electricity if digesters are integrated in the plant[2].

Global action for climate change mitigation as important field in international cooperation

The “Water and Wastewater Companies for Climate Mitigation” project -WaCCliM for short – has developed the “Energy Performance and Carbon Emissions Assessment and Monitoring” Tool – short ECAM – to measure GHG emissions and the energy performance from urban water services at a system-wide level and to identify areas of improvement.

WaCCliM is a project of the German Government, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the International Water Association. The aim of the project is to support the urban water sector to become climate-smart and sustainable through higher energy and water efficiency as well as reduced GHG emissions, both directly through adequate management of sewage sludge and indirectly through a reduction of energy consumption.

Mexico: Implementation of biogas technologies in a WaCCliM partner-utility |
The status quo of biogas technologies in the Mexican water and wastewater sector

The WaCCliM project is being implemented in three partner countries, two of which are Mexico and Peru. Mexico is unconditionally committed to reduce its GHG emissions by 22% by 2030 compared to a business-as-usual scenario. However, conditional commitments would allow for increased emissions mitigation of up to 36%. Mexican water utilities will need to contribute to this reduction, but they already face a difficult task in meeting users’ demands.  Obstacles like low tariffs, high water consumption and a complicated legal framework have led to unsustainable water abstraction, high energy costs, water losses and inadequate wastewater treatment. In Mexico, GIZ is working with the National Water Commission, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and the National Water Association of Mexico. These partners have participated in the dissemination of the low-carbon approach in the urban water sector, including through network meetings of utilities and the development of standards for biogas and energy generation projects.

SITRATA, the wastewater treatment utility in the city of San Francisco del Rincón is adapting measures to a sustainable, low-carbon wastewater management.  The wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) is based on an activated sludge system. Currently, emissions of ~2,500 tCO2e per year are being avoided, which was achieved mostly by expanding wastewater treatment coverage from less than half of the city to more than 80%. The utility is now investigating further measures to reduce emissions and operational costs and increase resilience to climate risks in the city’s wastewater system. In this context, sewage sludge plays a significant role. Even though sludge has very little monetary value and many utilities struggle with its management, it can be a source of renewable energy that can replace fossil fuels. At the moment, biogas is only being used for the production of thermal energy at SITRATA. However, the utility is considering the implementation of a cogeneration system to convert biogas to electrical energy as this would bring along several benefits. Firstly, operational costs and GHG emissions of the WWTP could be reduced, as the utility would produce its own electricity, making it less dependent on price fluctuations of the national grid. Secondly, the utility would increase its efficiency as the biogas would not be flared.

Only a low number of WWTPs in Mexico have infrastructure for biogas capture, which hinders an effective supply chain structure and increases costs for replacement parts. However, recent studies have identified 27 large facilities with a potential for cogeneration systems for biogas use in the country. The WaCCliM project has facilitated the participation of different network meetings with other utilities that operate WWTPs with cogeneration systems. By constructing partnerships and sharing experiences for up-scaling, we hope that more utilities will follow this way.

The legislation for the production of biogas in Mexico is still under development. Until now, there is no specific regulation for the management and use of biogas. However, there are several national norms related to the topic that can serve as an orientation for the establishment of a norm that regulates the production and the use of biogas for energy generation. Regardless of this, the anaerobic treatment of wastewater is considered to have high potential in Mexico and Latin America in general: even if biogas is not used widely yet, the reduction in GHGs and good results in life cycle assessments show that the use of biogas for electricity generation is the technological option that should be privileged in the future. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a standard that contains all the aspects involved, from the conduction of the biogas, its storage, incineration, treatment and use, with special emphasis on security aspects. Furthermore, competence standards for engineers, technicians and operators of WWTPs need to be established in order to ensure the proper management and maintenance of biogas technologies in the utilities.

Peru: Implementation of biogas technologies in a WaCCliM partner-utility |
The status quo of biogas technologies in the Peruvian water and wastewater sector

In Peru, the WaCCliM project cooperates with the General Directorate for Environmental Affairs under the Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation (MVCS). Supported by WaCCliM (responsible for mitigation) in collaboration with PROAGUAII[3], the MVCS has introduced Mitigation and Adaptation Plans for Climate Change (PMACCs; Planes de Mitigación y Adaptación al Cambio Climático) as planning instruments to cope with climate change within the responsibility area of water and sanitation utilities, which started seeking practical carbon emissions reduction solutions, such as the utility in Cusco, SEDACUSCO. For instance, improved sludge management has proven highly effective in the city, with multiple benefits. It has avoided emissions of ~7,454 t CO2e per year while bringing a serious local odor problem under control. Currently, the utility is installing a cogeneration system for biogas valorization. SEDACUSCO has a surplus production of almost 3,000m3 per day of biogas, which in prior times has been flared and emitted to the atmosphere.  The objective is now to recover the biogas and generate electricity for internal use, thereby saving €260,000 in annual electricity costs and avoid a further ~544 tCO2e per year in emissions.

Compared to Mexico, there is a lower number of biogas installations and cogenerators in Peru.

Several water and wastewater related measures prioritized by utilities have been included in Peru’s NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions); thus, contributing to the commitments made by the Peruvian government to reduce 20% of its GHG emissions by 2030, as well as a more ambitious target of 40%- as it was announced during the climate ambition summit in 2020.

To discuss on scaling up energy efficiency among utilities nationwide, the MVCS, with the support of GIZ, organized the “International Forum: Use of Biogas Generated in the Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants of Peru, in the Context of Climate Change”. Sectoral decision-makers from MVCS and regulatory body, utilities´ operators, additional government entities related to the topic (Ministries of Finance and Environment), as well as representatives of the private sector and civil society, were brought together, to identify the opportunities and challenges of introducing low carbon technologies in the Peruvian sanitation sector. To date no funding programs are available. The MVCS is now integrating the climate mitigation approach into sectoral strategic plans and guidelines in order to lower operating costs, enhance operational efficiency and reduce GHG emissions in the urban water sector.

Peru offers an opportunity to apply anaerobic technology due to its warm weather, particularly in the amazon region; moreover, biogas technology can be easily imported. However, to realize the full potential of biogas technology, they must be adapted to local conditions (e.g. high altitudes) requiring cooperation between academia and suppliers. In addition, policies to increase overall investment, through public-private partnerships, require to be developed as well as regulations allowing utilities to export excess energy to the grid or enforcing energy recovery. Last but not least, including capacity building on biogas technology – design, operation and maintenance.

[1] Copeland & Carter (2017): Energy-Water Nexus: The Water Sector’s Energy Use. In: Congressional Research Service.
[2] International Energy Agency, 2016: Water Energy Nexus. Excerpt from the World Energy Outlook 2016.
[3] Project for the Modernization and Strengthening of the Water and Sanitation Sector, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

In the years and decades ahead, water and wastewater utilities can take many different actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But what if they don’t? This is not a pessimistic question, but a very important one. Modelling a future with no mitigation actions – business as usual – is an important part of ensuring that actions happen.

That idea is the basis of WaCCliM’s new approach to understanding business-as-usual futures, the Methodology for Establishing Baseline Scenarios in the Urban Water Sector with ECAM.

The approach builds on the Energy Performance and Carbon Emissions Assessment and Monitoring (ECAM) tool, a first-of-its-kind online tool that allows water and wastewater utilities to take a holistic approach to reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions throughout the urban water cycle. ECAM allows utilities to enter their existing data into the tool and model actions they are considering to estimate the benefits of mitigation. The new baseline methodology goes a step further by identifying how emissions would evolve over time if current management and practices were to continue.

As water flows through an urban water cycle to meet the needs of residents and industry, greenhouse gases are produced indirectly through energy consumption, and often released directly from untreated or poorly treated wastewater. Modelling the unchecked growth of these emissions allows utilities to reveal the benefits of investing in mitigation – which they can do by getting more energy efficient, stopping water losses, better managing wastewater and sludge, or extracting and using biogas, among other possibilities.

Baseline scenarios are far from simple models; projecting past developments into the future requires many parameters and the best available data. Scenarios are based on the physical and biochemical characteristics of the emission pathways in the urban water cycle, with key parameters affected by socio-economic, technological and climatic forces, ranging from the numbers of people expected to move to cities to the composition of their diets. For rapidly growing cities in countries with developing economies, the only certainty with these parameters is that they will not stay static in the years ahead.

Yet it is possible to project them. They can be based on the trends derived from international and national databases, journal publications, reports and policy documents – including the reports and models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which WaCCliM’s methodology takes as a basis.

There are four steps to the methodology. The first step involves defining the boundaries of the specific urban water cycle to be considered, and the time horizon over which it will be modelled. In the second step, the key parameters and driving factors of the emission trajectory are determined, taking national and global trends into account. The third step is data collection and projection, and for this WaCCliM has developed a custom Excel-based tool, Project ECAM Inputs for GHG Emissions (PEIGE). This generates a projection of business-as-usual conditions in future years that, in the fourth step, can be entered into ECAM’s freely available online interface to compare with alternative scenarios.

The power of this methodology is evident in two initial case studies published by WaCCliM. In Madaba, Jordan, WaCCliM modelled the possible trajectory of the utility Miyahuna’s greenhouse gas emissions under business as usual all the way to 2040. These will be critical years, with population growth, economic development and an influx of refugees widening the gap between water supply and demand in the dry region. The scenarios showed that the direct and indirect greenhouse gases emitted by the utility could increase from around 40,000 tons carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2016 to nearly 110,000 in 2040, if the utility were to continue with no changes to its operations.

In San Francisco del Rincón in north-central Mexico, unsustainable abstraction, high water losses and inadequate wastewater treatment challenge the two utilities Sistema de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado de San Francisco (SAPAF) and Sistema Intermunicipal para los Servicios de Tratamiento y Disposición de Aguas Residuales para los Municipios del Rincón (SITRATA). WaCCliM also modelled the trajectory of these utilities’ business-as-usual emissions to 2040. The scenarios showed that emissions from the water supply system might increase by up to 58%, while emissions from the wastewater system could dip by 8% thanks to a gradually expanding treatment area.

Neither in Madaba nor in San Francisco del Rincón, however, did business proceed as usual. Among other measures, the Jordanian utility has upgraded pumps to more efficient models, already achieving 1,000 tons CO2e mitigation per year despite its fast-growing service area. The Mexican utilities, instead of expanding wastewater treatment gradually, have acted much faster to extend the system from 48% of the city to 80%, achieving mitigation of 2,500 tons CO2e per year.

The effects of actions like these need to be measured against something – and the business-as-usual scenarios are that something. The methodology is an important step towards estimating the reduction of utilities’ carbon footprints, and a strong technical component for further implementation of climate policies, right up to regional and national scales.

How to contribute to global commitments while
achieving sectoral objectives?

Mainstreaming Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) into Peruvian water sector´s strategies and interventions offer a great opportunity to ensuring universal, sustainable and quality access to water and sanitation services, while complying with the Agenda 2030 (SDG 6) and the Paris Climate Agreement.

In this context, the General Directorate of Environmental Affairs (Dirección General de Asuntos Ambientales; DGAA) of the Peruvian Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation (Ministerio de Vivienda, Construcción y Saneamiento; MVCS) has introduced the Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Plans (Planes de Mitigación y Adaptación al Cambio Climático; PMACC) as planning instruments to face climate change in the water and sanitation utilities´ area of responsibility. To find out on how much progress do utilities have made so far? – regarding the prioritized climate measures – DGAA with the support of the German Development Cooperation and the Swiss Cooperation – SECO, implemented by GIZ, through WaCCLiM and PROAGUA II, carried out an “Assessment on PMACC Implementation´s Extent by utilities under the Peruvian NDCs“.

This assessment report provides information on what adaptation and/or mitigation measures have been implemented so far, highlighting the considerations of co-benefits such as operating costs reduction, operational efficiency and water bodies´ protection. Furthermore, it addresses the main barriers including gaps on capacity development but also opportunities for climate measures´ monitoring and follow-up. These findings will inform to decision makers and practitioners when updating the water-related NDCs under the ongoing process of enhancing NDCs ambition.

What is next?

The findings of the PMACC Implementation´s report will be applied for updating sector´s strategies and interventions, in order to ensure access and quality of water and sanitation services in a context of climate change – recognizing its importance for public health, economic recovery along with environmental and climate protection. Moreover, it will be required to link climate measures with financing mechanisms to support the transition from planning to action. Thus, these findings will also feed the national and regional Water and Sanitation Plans´ updating process, currently under development by the MVCS.

The task is ongoing, and the International Cooperation is seizing the digital transformation´s processes and tools for bringing about its advisory services at the forefront.