The WaCCliM project will be extended until 12/2022. WaCCliM supports a low-carbon and resilient urban water sector in Jordan, Mexico, Peru and globally. Following a positive response to WaCCliM’s assistance on climate change mitigation to the water and wastewater utilities in the partner countries, the extension of the project seeks to incorporate resilience in the water and wastewater utilities, support in the implementation of climate objectives relevant to the water sector and the institutionalization of the developed tools.
The transition to low-carbon urban water utilities is an innovative idea, currently embraced only by a few forward-thinking utilities. Early adopters of the WaCCliM Roadmap to a Low-Carbon Urban Water Utility are well positioned for an uncertain water-climate future. This roadmap is directed at urban water utility managers in charge of planning future actions, as well as at the stakeholders who will support the utility’s action plans.
“The Roadmap to a Low-Carbon Urban Water Utility, a legacy from the WaCCliM project, builds on the experiences gained during the implementation of the project. It will support water utility managers around the world in their efforts to improve performance and achieve carbon neutrality of their utilities while raising the awareness of policy-makers to the substantial contributions the water sector can provide in meeting greenhouse-gas reduction targets. Local action is needed to support global targets!”
Thomas Stratenwerth, Head of Division – General, European and International Water Management Issues
Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany
The Roadmap to a Low-Carbon Urban Water Utility presents water professionals with an approach to address their most pressing challenges, while reducing carbon emissions through measures that either have a return on investment through energy or water savings, or that correspond to planned investments as part of the asset management plan to maintain or improve their services. Utilities adopting this approach are contributing to a carbon-neutral future, by instigating a change of mind-set, not only in urban water management but also by inspiring all other urban services through sharing the risks and the urgency to act to avoid aggravated impacts of climate change, from which water utilities are among the first victims: water scarcity, flooding and deteriorated water quality.
Why a roadmap and for whom?
The transition to low-carbon urban water utilities is an innovative idea, currently embraced only by a few forward-thinking utilities. This roadmap is directed at urban water utility managers in charge of planning future actions, as well as at the stakeholders who will support the utility’s action plans. Since only a few ‘early adopter’ utilities have embarked on a low-carbon transition, this roadmap intends to support other utilities in understanding and championing the need for contributing to a carbon-neutral future, and to guide them through a process of change. This roadmap can be applied to all utilities worldwide, but was specifically developed with utilities in emerging economies in mind, because the service performance and data management challenges are often prominent in their operations and future planning.
Setting a path for utilities to transition to low-carbon
The Water and Wastewater Companies for Climate Mitigation (WaCCliM) project supports potable water and wastewater utilities –also referred to as urban water utilities – with the implementation of measures that enhance their service performance and lower their carbon emissions. The project is a global initiative, with the overarching goal to transition to a carbon-neutral urban water sector. The approach laid out in this document was specifically developed with water utilities in emerging economies in mind within the context of the WaCCliM project, but it can serve utilities anywhere as climate change is a global problem. It targets reducing the water, energy and carbon footprints of urban water utilities through an iterative five-step process which may be used by utilities to find their own path to a low-carbon future. The roadmap is intended to guide urban water utility managers through these steps and leads to resources hosted on the Knowledge Platform ‘Climate Smart Water’, which follows the same structure as this roadmap.
The Wastewater Management Authority (WMA) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH organised a closing ceremony for the Water and Wastewater Companies for Climate Mitigation (WaCCliM) project in Thailand. WaCCliM Thailand has supported the introduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation measures in the wastewater system of 4 pilot areas.
With the world focusing its efforts on limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 ºC, every sector has started planning how it can achieve the reduction target. According to the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO), 47.5 percent of GHG emissions from the waste sector come from wastewater management, making up 2 percent of national emissions. To reduce national emissions, Thailand has issued a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) roadmap (2021 – 2030). The reduction target for wastewater management is 700,000 tons carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent by 2030.
Water and Wastewater Companies for Climate Mitigation or WaCCliM Project is funded through the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). The project was initiated in 2014 with the global objective to reduce the carbon footprint of water and wastewater utilities by introducing carbon-reducing measures while maintaining or improving performance, and supporting the development of a new strategy and framework for climate mitigation in the water and wastewater sector. The experiences gained from the project approach in each pilot area will be integrated into a national guideline for water and wastewater utilities to move towards carbon neutrality. In Thailand, the WaCCliM project has worked in 4 pilot areas, namely Chiang Mai, Songkhla, Krabi and Chonburi provinces, advising on mitigation measures to improve performance and reduce carbon emissions. In the meantime, WaCCliM Thailand has also supported the Wastewater Management Authority (WMA) in developing a new framework for domestic wastewater utilities in relation to climate mitigation. The results from project implementation will serve as guidelines for other wastewater utilities in Thailand.
One of the results from this cooperation is the ECAM (Energy performance and Carbon emissions Assessment and Monitoring) Tool, the first assessment tool for water and wastewater utilities to estimate GHG emissions and which can be used for Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV). From the initial estimation in the Thai pilot areas, around 7,500 tons CO2 equivalent can be avoided each year, a 28 percent reduction compared to business-as-usual (BAU).
Mr. Chira Wongburana, Acting Director General of Wastewater Management Authority (WMA) noted that climate change is one of the areas to which WMA is giving priority. “We are therefore working closely with municipalities to provide high-quality wastewater treatment services, while increasing awareness of domestic wastewater management and the impact on water resources from improper management. Since climate change can be affected from wastewater management; electricity consumption and treatment processes, there is an opportunity from wastewater sector to support climate mitigation. We also plan to use ECAM Tool for planning a strategy to achieve climate mitigation in domestic wastewater sector of Thailand in the future. The ECAM Tool we received from the WaCCliM project is applied to the results and used within the Thailand Wastewater Monitoring and Reporting Center. This reports the GHG emissions results from real-time electricity consumption and these results will be reported and can be viewed through our web page. This tool is open and free to access via wacclim.org. The website also provides methodology guidelines and training documents for interested organisations who would like to assess GHG emissions from the water sector. With the project now ending, WMA is ready to go beyond the project scope and use the ECAM Tool on other domestic wastewater utilities for which WMA has responsibility.”
Ms. Chutima Jongpakdee, WaCCliM project manager, GIZ Thailand said “During the 4 years of cooperation, WaCCliM Thailand has supported WMA by proposing mitigation measures to improve the performance of the domestic wastewater system and develop a strategy which will serve as a framework for climate mitigation in the domestic wastewater sector. The most important component in achieving the reduction target sustainably is quality of data. GIZ together with the International Water Association (IWA) have thus focused on capacity building of WMA staff over the 4 years, providing them with knowledge on how GHG emissions in wastewater systems are produced both directly and indirectly, as well as training them in using the ECAM Tool so they are able to assess GHG emissions by themselves. This approach raised awareness among WMA staff involved in data collection and operating the treatment system and helped them understand why collecting data is essential to assess the level of emissions produced from their system. This improved quality of data is important for developing a national framework on climate mitigation in the domestic wastewater sector. The final developed framework will be feasible and achievable. The sector will then support local authorities in moving towards a low carbon society.”
In the state of Guanajuato in Mexico, two water utilities in San Francisco del Rincón and Purísima del Rincón participated between 2014 and 2018 as pilot utilities in an innovative approach to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through improved efficiency of water and wastewater treatment services.
The urban water cycle in Mexico accounts for up to 5% of the total GHG emissions in the country. In order to reduce their emissions and to save costs at the same time, the two utilities pioneered implementation of the Roadmap to a Low-Carbon Urban Water Utility in Mexico. SAPAF (Sistema de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado de San Francisco) operates the utility that is responsible for the water supply and sewage collection in San Francisco del Rincón, while SITRATA (Servicio de Tratamiento y Deposición de Aguas Residuales) is responsible for operating the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) shared by the two municipalities. Together, they applied the roadmap developed by the Water and Wastewater Companies for Climate Mitigation (WaCCliM) project, a joint initiative by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the International Water Association (IWA). It focuses on mitigation and also helps raise awareness to ensure that water utilities play an active role in reducing their carbon footprint instead of merely adapting to the consequences of climate change.
As part of the roadmap, an initial baseline assessment of the two utilities identified untreated wastewater as the main source of GHG emissions in the urban water cycle. Consequently, SAPAF constructed collectors to increase the wastewater treatment coverage, thus avoiding 2,500 tonnes CO2-eq per year, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of 830 compact cars per year1 and represents a reduction of 40% of the total emissions in their operation area.
The increased wastewater received by the common wastewater treatment plant posed a new challenge to SITRATA, which had to treat a larger volume without access to additional funds. To overcome this problem, the utility focused on two aspects: optimising the aeration process and improving biogas production to generate electricity for internal consumption. SITRATA managed to reduce the energy consumption per cubic meter treated by approximately 10% and produces 155,000 kWh annually through its cogeneration system using the methane generated in the anaerobic sludge digestion process; work is ongoing to increase this amount.
Following the lead of SAPAF and SITRATA, the utility in Moroleón, SMAPAM (Sistema Municipal de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado Moroleon), has also started to implement the WaCCliM approach. Efficiency measures in the water supply system have already led to a reduction of 6% in the electricity SMAPAM consumes for pumping. This includes replacing the least efficient pumps in the system and implementing programmes to reduce water consumption by the population, thus leading to less water needing to be pumped and as a result water and energy being conserved. The next step for the utility is to identify and reduce water losses in the distribution system, which are directly related to high energy consumption. WaCCliM is supporting the analysis of water losses and modelling of the distribution network.
In the neighbouring state of Querétaro, assessment studies on pumping stations supported by the WaCCliM project have led the State Water Commission of Querétaro to allocate 2 million pesos (approx. EUR 100,000) to implementing measures to enhance the efficiency of the pumping stations. In Chihuahua, a state located in the north of Mexico, the utility in Parral has also showed great interest in the WaCCliM approach. After an initial energy performance evaluation supported by the WaCCliM project and the renovation of some of its equipment, the utility is using its own funds to continue with additional studies, including the modelling of the distribution network and identification of possible points to optimise in the operating system.
These success stories in Mexico will encourage other water and wastewater utilities to contribute to climate change mitigation while improving service levels and reducing operational costs.
This article was originally published on the International Climate Initiative website.
1The number of cars was determined using the emission factor of CO2 (g/km) per car model, assuming that a car travels a total of 15,000 km per year. A mean emission value of nearly 3 tonnes/car per year was calculated. http://www.ecovehiculos.gob.mx/ecovehiculos/ (in Spanish)
Source: Pollution Control Department, Thailand
The reduction of the GHG emissions will
1. Reduce energy use
2. Reduce cost of the operation
3. Reduce the impact of untreated wastewater in natural water sources
4. Achieve the GHG reduction target of the country
The ECAM tool is free and available at http://wacclim.org/ecam/index.php. Guidelines, calculation principles and training documents are also provided.
Recently, municipal and Bangkok-based officers from the Thai Wastewater Management Authority participated in a workshop on the ECAM Tool and GHG emissions in wastewater sector. The workshop not only provided technical knowledge but also an opportunity to train others in this area.
Thailand ratified the Paris Agreement in September 2016. The country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) intend to reduce GHG emissions by at least 20% by the year 2030 compared to the projected business as-usual level.
El lanzamiento del novedoso portal “Climate Smart Water” busca impulsar a los organismos operadores de agua y saneamiento a integrar una visión clara de cómo sus actividades están ligadas al cambio climático, y como pueden tomar medidas para mejorar su eficiencia y reducir su huella de carbono.
El Portal “Climate Smart Water” es un nuevo recurso para que las empresas prestadoras de servicios (Organismos Operadores, como se les conoce en México – O.O.) de agua y saneamiento, integren una visión clara del vínculo que tienen las actividades de proveer agua potable y tratar aguas residuales con el cambio climático.
En México y gran parte del mundo, la mayoría de los O.O. tienen una labor delicada: El agua es fundamental para una vida digna, así como para cualquier actividad productiva, por lo que la gestión adecuada y sustentable de los recursos hídricos se vuelve crítica para un desarrollo sustentable; sin embargo, debido a cuestiones políticas y sociales la realidad de muchos O.O. es de poca continuidad en su dirección, dificultades financieras, ineficiencias y pérdidas de agua importantes.
Por ello los O.O. tienen un fuerte enfoque en reducir costos operativos para continuar la provisión del servicio frente a una población en crecimiento, normas ambientales más estrictas, y nuevos e impredecibles efectos del cambio climático, cuyos principales impactos del mismo se dan a través de eventos meteorológicos que involucran el ciclo del agua.
Ante esta situación delicada, hay una oportunidad importante para que se reconozca que los impactos al sector de agua y saneamiento no son el único vínculo con el cambio climático, sino que también hay una contribución significativa de gases de efecto invernadero (GEI); esto debido a las emisiones producidas para la energía requerida para suministrar el agua a las ciudades, y por la producción de GEI en el manejo y disposición de las aguas residuales.
El tener claridad la relación de cambio climático y los O.O. permite incrementar aún más la conciencia de lo importante que es asegurar servicios de calidad, ahora y planear hacia el futuro, implementando mejoras que al mismo tiempo ayuden a mitigar los efectos del cambio climático.
El portal “Climate Smart Water” provee una hoja de ruta que permite a los O.O. identificar el vínculo de sus actividades con la mitigación del cambio climático, y provee herramientas y recursos para evaluar cómo reducir su huella de carbono.
La estructura de la hoja de ruta cuenta con 5 pasos escalonados:
- Proporciona información sobre la importancia de reducir la huella de carbono
- Una herramienta en línea permite contabilizar las emisiones de los sistemas que administra el O.O.
- La misma herramienta permite identificar oportunidades de mejora
- Proporciona información sobre cómo implementar soluciones en las áreas de oportunidad identificadas
- Tras la implementación, permite monitorear el desempeño del O.O. y cómo se han reducido o modificado las emisiones de GEI a través del tiempo
La dirección del portal es http://climatesmartwater.org/
El portal “Climate Smart Water” se desarrolló dentro del marco del Proyecto Global “Empresas de agua y saneamiento para la mitigación del cambio climático” (WaCCliM, www.wacclim.org), proyecto implementado por la Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH y la Asociación Internacional del Agua, que forma parte de la Iniciativa Internacional de Protección del Clima (IKI) del Ministerio Federal de Medio Ambiente, Protección de la Naturaleza, y Seguridad Nuclear (BMU) de Alemania.
By Elaine Cheung and Tatiana Cuervo.
Mexico ambitiously committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions when it ratified and formally joined the Paris Agreement in 2015. Today, almost three years later, the water sector in Mexico is showing promising results. Pilot utilities of the Water and Wastewater Companies for Climate Mitigation (WaCCliM) Project have achieved a reduction of more than 2,500 t CO2e each year.
In Mexico, the water sector faces multiple challenges. Water and wastewater utilities have a difficult task meeting the water demand while offering low tariffs. This challenge, coupled with a complex regulatory framework, has led to unsustainable water abstraction practices. With rising water scarcity, Mexico’s water sector will face even more challenges during the coming decades. Greater focus on its energy requirements, GHG implications, clear GHG reduction targets as well as the recognition of numerous co-benefits of a circular economy of water will be a crucial part of the policy responses to these challenges.
Despite these difficulties, Mexico’s water sector has a tremendous potential to foster a positive transition towards climate mitigation and adaptation. In order to achieve its goals, the Mexican government has included efficient water supply management, treatment of wastewater, and the recovery of energy as strategies to achieve its climate commitments. Consequently, since 2013, the WaCCliM Project has been supporting Mexican water utilities in taking actions to reduce their carbon footprint. Within this scope, the Energy Performance and Carbon Emissions Assessment and Monitoring (ECAM) tool was developed to help water utilities to identify their main GHG emission sources and saving opportunities in a holistic manner.
The WaCCliM project is a joint initiative between the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the International Water Association (IWA) and is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). In Mexico, the WaCCliM project is working with the National Water Commission (CONAGUA) and the National Water Association of Mexico (ANEAS).
The WaCCliM pilot utilities of San Francisco del Rincón, SAPAF and SITRATA, are pioneering the way towards sustainable, low-carbon urban water management. Following the WaCCliM roadmap, they have introduced innovative measures that resulted in energy consumption reductions of more than 25%. Likewise, they have lowered their operational costs and improved productivity: In 2016, the utility increased its wastewater treatment coverage by 30%. More than 2,500 t CO2e are now avoided each year, equivalent to annual emissions of 650 people living in Mexico. Additionally, the operation of the biogas cogeneration system provides energy from the wastewater that would be sufficient to power 100 Mexican householdswith clean energy. Besides economic and operational benefits, WaCCliM utilities are taking the lead in GHG emissions accounting and GHG mitigation in the water sector, seizing the opportunity to become more efficient and effective in an uncertain future.
A carbon-neutral development requires all sectors to innovate and pursue solutions to climate challenges. In Mexico, the water sector has taken a big step forward and is pioneering the way for other sectors and countries around the world.
Foto credits: SAPAF, GIZ México, Ranjin Fernando.
Peru is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. A low-lying coastal area, with vast arid and semi-arid lands, much of Peru is liable to floods, droughts and desertification. 72% of the total number of national emergencies are due to hydro-meteorological threats. Already struggling to secure a reliable supply to meet user’s demand, more frequent and severe natural disasters pose an increasing burden on water utilities in Peru. Huge differences in altitudes require enormous amounts of energy to distribute the water and lead to high energy costs.
The WaCCliM project in Peru cooperates with the General Directorate for Environmental Affairs under the Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation, which is responsible for environmental policy in the water and sanitation sector including both mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
Mexico was seen as a leader during the Paris COP21 negotiations. It has committed ambitiously to reducing 22% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to baseline scenario, with the potential to raise the target up to 40%, and 50% by 2050 compared to the year 2000. It is a signatory to the Paris Pact on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change. In Mexico, water utilities have a difficult task meeting user’s demands. Low tariffs, high water consumption, and a complicated legal framework have led to unsustainable water abstraction, high energy costs, high water loss, and inadequate wastewater treatment, which contribute to very high GHG emissions. Climate change will only exacerbate current conditions.
The WaCCliM project is working with the National Water Commission (CONAGUA), the State Water Commission of Guanajuato (CEAG), and the National Water Association of Mexico (ANEAS). The WaCCliM pilot utilities of San Francisco del Rincón, SAPAF and SITRATA, are already pioneering the way towards sustainable, low-carbon, urban water management. SAPAF provides water supply services, while SITRATA operates a wastewater treatment plant shared between two municipalities, San Francisco del Rincón and La Purísima. The raw water comes from groundwater wells and requires only disinfection. The drainage network does not require any pumping. The wastewater treatment plant is based on an activated sludge system.
Jordan is one of the world ́s most water-scarce countries. Energy consumption accounts for around 73 % 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 WaCCliM project is demonstrating that the water sector can reduce GHG emissions: in the short-term by improving operational efficiency and adopting energy efficiency measures; in the long-term by proactively upgrading and reforming their drinking water and wastewater systems. Water utilities working with WaCCliM are becoming sector leaders, and are seizing the opportunity to become more efficient and effective in an uncertain future.