Global climate agenda

WaCCliM is providing evidence of the significant contribution that the water sector can make to limit global warming to well below 2°C.

A carbon neutral urban water sector could increase by 20% the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) being committed by countries on the COP21 Paris Agreement.

Pilot utilities

Water utilities working with WaCCliM are becoming sector leaders, and are seizing the opportunities to transition towards carbon and energy neutrality.

Anticipated GHG reductions in WaCCliM pilots by 2018

Experience from WaCCliM Pilots shows that investing in increased energy efficiency in existing urban water services can reduce electricity-related emissions by up to 30 percent, with relatively simple measures. It also offers financial savings leading to short pay-back times on the investment, and a stronger financial situation in the long term.


In San Francisco del Rincón a reduction of 2,500 t CO2 -eq per year has been achieved which corresponds to almost 50% reduction of the utilities total GHG emissions. While volume of treated wastewater was increased by 30%, energy consumption per m³ treated wastewater has been reduced by 26%. Pumping efficiency measures are expected to result in 10-15% energy savings.  Additional measures including improved cogeneration and treatment optimization have been identified that would lead to a 65 % total emissions reduction by the utility.


In the city of Cusco, Peru, optimized sludge management and cogeneration resulted in emission avoidance of 5,300 t CO2 -eq per year, which represents 20% of the utility’s total CO2 -eq emissions. Further plans to implement cogeneration from biogas will contribute to additional 650 t CO2 -eq per year reduction per year. A total GHG reduction potential of 50% has been identified which could be achieved if additional measures including pumping efficiency and effluent reuse were implemented.


In Thailand, the wastewater utility of Chiang Mai can reduce its GHG emissions by up to 12% of the utility’s total CO2 -eq  emissions per person per year if measures for improved pumping efficiency, reduced infiltration in the sewer system and increased service coverage are implemented.


In Madaba, Jordan, a total GHG reduction potential of 50% has been identified through various measures. For example, with the implementation of new highly energy-efficient pumps, the electric energy consumption of the water abstraction process could be reduced, saving approximately 1,400 MWh per year and avoiding emissions of 1,000 tons of CO2 -eq per year. Additionally, with biogas valorisation over 6,000 tons of CO2 -eq per year could be avoided. 

Policy impact

WaCCliM’s ECAM tool – the first of its kind to allow for a holistic approach of the urban water cycle to drive GHG emission reduction in utilities. ECAM provides decision support to drinking water and wastewater utilities’ operators on which improvements can have the biggest impact across the urban water cycle, while pro-actively preparing them for future reporting needs on climate mitigation.

A standardized GHG emissions accounting of the urban water cycle can help policymakers and other decision makers develop effective policies and strategies for reducing GHG emissions holistically.

Climate financing

Meeting the target of limiting global temperature to well below 2°C requires support to help countries cut their emissions. Integration of the water and climate agendas will improve cost effectiveness and therefore support financial commitments to create resilient societies and sustainable ecosystems.

WaCCliM illustrates strong synergies between the water and climate agendas. Utilities can simultaneously adopt energy efficiency and climate-smart mitigation measures that not only help them reduce overall costs through reducing consumption of resources, but also help them reduce their GHG emissions and become more resilient to climate change.

At scale, WaCCliM is driving the transition towards carbon neutral, climate resilient water systems

Sustainable Development Goals

The WaCCliM project has multiplying effects on the sustainability agenda, helping to make progress towards health and well-being (SDG 3), clean water and sanitation (SDG6), affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), climate action (SDG13), life below water (SDG 14), and life on land (SDG 15), among others.