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.

In the past, a healthy Mae Ping River ran through Chiang Mai in the northwestern part of Thailand. It flowed south, merging with three other rivers -Wang, Yom and Nan- to become the Chao Phraya River, Thailand’s major river and source of water for millions of people. The Ping River was part and parcel of the daily lives of Chiang Mai residents. “Water provided us with fish, crab and shells”, remembers an old Chiang Mai resident. “Once the water was clear but now it has become a smelly and polluted wastewater carrier”, says Mr. Surachet Nokham, Chiang Mai’s Wastewater Treatment Plant Manager.

A polluted river not only stirs residents’ nostalgic memories of past recreational activities in and along its waters; a filthy Ping River poses both human and environmental health issues, and may also threaten the image of Chiang Mai as the “Northern Rose” of Thailand.

One of the main drivers of pollution is the discharge of untreated domestic wastewater directly into the river. This results in a deterioration of water quality, which impacts on human and environmental health as well as releasing significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a major contributor to climate change. Worldwide, about 80 % of all wastewater is discharged into the environment without any treatment, with many regions lacking the basic infrastructure to better manage wastewater. Treating the wastewater we release back to nature would address issues of water quality, environmental health and GHG emissions.

Thailand’s Wastewater Management Authority (WMA) was founded in 1980 to take responsibility for national wastewater management, and provide management and technical assistance to municipalities operating wastewater treatment systems. Mr. Chira Wongburana, Acting Director General of WMA, has recognized this as a priority, “The first and foremost water management issue that we need to address is to bring back clean water”.

Through the International Climate Initiative, the WMA is now working with the Water and Wastewater Companies for Climate Mitigation (WaCCliM) project to optimise wastewater management at pilot utilities in Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Krabi and Sansuk. In Chang Mai, studies identified untreated wastewater flowing  into the public canals of the city as not only polluting its waterway so that they were no longer fit for bathing, but also that it was producing significant amounts of methane and nitrous oxide, both GHGs with a large global warming potential.

The utility plans to install gauging stations at five wastewater discharge points where the water flows into the Mae Kha canal to control the public canal of Chiang Mai City. Mr. Surachet expects “to see a better quality of water in several water courses”.

Wastewater treatment is not only a key piece of the solution to Thailand’s acute water pollution. In a country prone to the effects of climate change, where wastewater treatment accounts for about half of the total GHG emissions of the waste sector and contributes to high energy related emissions, wastewater treatment becomes an area with huge potential for mitigation measures. Participation from citizens, governments and the private sector are crucial to set this in motion.

“If we are able to take the steps at the sources of wastewater, less energy will be required in the treatment process, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Having an efficient wastewater treatment system in the industrial sector, as well as participation from citizens in saving water and not throwing rubbish into water sources, will help reduce GHG from the wastewater sector”, stated WMA Director General, Mr. Chira. “If both the public sector and citizens participate, I believe Thailand can reach the reduction target of 20-25% by 2030 that it committed to at the climate change conference in 2015. We already have a roadmap for 2021-2030 and the wastewater sector will reduce its emissions by 3.6%”, he concluded.

Based on this roadmap, wastewater treatment can contribute up to 30% of the total GHG mitigation potential in the Thai waste sector. The water and wastewater sector can become a catalyst for climate action in other sectors within Thailand; if they succeed, Thais might once again swim and fish in the country’s waterways.

Watch this short documentary:

WaCCliM in Thailand from WaCCliM on Vimeo.

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:

The Energy Performance and Carbon Emissions Assessment and Monitoring (ECAM) tool is a free web-based tool that is designed for assessing the carbon emissions that utilities can control within the urban water cycle and prepare these utilities for future reporting needs on climate mitigation. Access ECAM training material and try it now: !

If you have questions regarding the ECAM tool, please have a look at our FAQ’s guide.

Contact us at  if you have further questions.



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

For the past five years, the World Economic Forum ranked water as one of the top global risks to industry and society. This risk is strongly linked to the failure or success of climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts focused on water. Climate change is water change and, across the globe, we are facing a future where water demand is expected to grow by 55% until 2050, while water availability is estimated to drop by 40% over the same period.

The size and scale of the water challenges facing the world are unprecedented. While the water sector has to manage the impacts of climate change, it also contributes to climate change through carbon emissions: water supply use up to 8 % of the global energy generation. Wastewater also contributes significantly towards nitrous oxides and methane emissions, which have much larger multiplier effects on global warming.

Sources of emissions in the urban water cycle; Illustration: Creative Republic

Fortunately, there are many promising solutions to decarbonize the water sector and mitigate climate change. The Water and Wastewater Companies for Climate Mitigation (WaCCliM) project is working with water and wastewater utilities in four countries (Jordan, Mexico, Peru and Thailand), demonstrating that the water sector can considerably reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. In the short-term, improving operational and energy efficiency can reduce energy consumption by up to 40%; in the long-term, upgrading and reforming water and wastewater systems can make utilities energy and carbon-neutral.

One of the biggest opportunities for urban utilities to achieve carbon-neutral, climate-resilient water systems comes from untreated wastewater. Globally, 80% of all wastewater is released into nature untreated, and untreated sewage represents three times the greenhouse gas emissions of conventional wastewater treatments. A massive expansion of wastewater treatment, combined with energy-saving and renewable energy producing measures, is critical to putting utilities on the path towards carbon neutrality.

Wastewater treatment plant in San Francisco del Rincon, Mexico. Photo: Andres Rojo

In Mexico, the WaCCliM pilot utilities in San Francisco del Rincon, Guanajuato, are showing how water and wastewater utilities can become leaders for a climate-resilient, low-carbon society. Following the WaCCliM roadmap, they have introduced climate-friendly measures that have allowed them to reduce their energy consumption by 20 percent, equivalent to 360 MWh per year, has lowered operational costs and improved productivity. The utility has increased its wastewater treatment coverage by 60 % in 2016 alone. The immediate impact of this is a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to 2,200 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Within one year additional energy was generated from wastewater equivalent to the power for 24 homes. This small step highlights the future role of wastewater utilities in powering the circular economy.

Greenhouse Gas reduction in WaCCliM Pilot in Mexico; Illustration: Creative Repubic

WaCCliM utilities in other countries are also pioneering solutions. In Peru, more than 4500 tons of carbon emissions per year were avoided at the pilot utility in Cusco (SEDACUSCO) through improved sludge management resulting in increased biogas production that can be sued for generation of renewable energy. This highlights how wastewater treatment plants can be transformed into resource recovery and energy production plants.

Wastewater treatment plant in Cusco, Peru. Photo: Sedacusco, Peru

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from urban water services is a significant contribution to national carbon targets under the Paris Climate Agreement. WaCCliM shows that this could be up to 20 percent of Nationally Determined Contributions. All of these improvements position WaCCliM utilities not only to be able to unlock climate finance, but to be ahead of regulatory changes and pro-actively prepare for future greenhouse gas and environmental regulatory compliance.

A carbon-neutral future requires all sectors to innovate and provide solutions to climate challenges. The water sector can seize the opportunity to become more resilient and efficient, championing the transition towards energy and carbon neutrality as well as lowering energy costs.

This news item was originally posted on the IKI website.