Planning locally, impacting globally – How Water and Wastewater Utilities in Peru are Facing Climate Change
How to ensure water and sanitation services delivery under a climate change context? The climate change mitigation and adaptation plans (PMACC; Planes de Mitigación y Adaptación al Cambio Climático) are tools to address this challenge. PMACC identify main carbon emissions sources and higher climate risks throughout the urban water cycle, along with water utilities’ opportunities to boost a positive change towards climate neutrality and adaptation. Following a standardised methodology and supported by web-based tools, the planning process becomes quicker and generates a report to informing decision-makers. This planning approach enabled some water utilities in Peru to start searching for practical carbon emissions reduction solutions, such as water utilities in Cusco and Ayacucho. The PMACC initiative was developed and implemented collaboratively between WaCCliM (responsible for mitigation) and PROAGUA II.
In San Francisco del Rincón, two utility companies, SITRATA (Servicio de Tratamiento
y Deposición de Aguas Residuales) and SAPAF (Sistema de Agua Potable y
Alcantarillado de San Francisco), are collaborating on projects to improve their
services and lower their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. SITRATA manages
wastewater, while SAPAF is responsible for drinking water and sewage. With
guidance from the WaCCliM project, both utilities have undertaken a strategizing and
implementation process similar to that proposed in the “WaCCliM Roadmap to a Low-
Carbon Urban Water Utility”.
As a result, SAPAF have increased wastewater treatment coverage from 48% to 81%
and improved the energy efficiency of their pumping stations. The magnitude of the
increase in treatment coverage was by far the biggest achievement in GHG reduction.
In Madaba, the Miyahuna Water Company conducted a study to determine and
address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its operations. Miyahuna operates
both water and wastewater systems in the city. The GHG assessment was conducted
using the Energy Performance and Carbon Emissions Assessment and Monitoring
(ECAM) Tool. This highlighted that 90% of energy consumption is linked to the
extraction of drinking water.
In order to decrease the utility’s carbon footprint, several GHG reduction measures
were evaluated. However, some are difficult to implement due to financial constraints.
The most feasible option was the improvement of the pumping system. This would
reduce annual electricity consumption by 35–50%.
In the city of Chiang Mai, the WaCCliM project supports the Wastewater Management
Authority (WMA) in assessing opportunities to reduce its carbon footprint. A baseline
study identified the leaks of untreated wastewater, caused by fractured pipes in the
wastewater collection system, as the main source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
in Chiang Mai. A large amount of untreated wastewater is flowing directly into the
public canal. Because of this, the city is producing significant amounts of methane
(CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), both gases with a larger global warming potential than
carbon dioxide (CO2). The emissions from direct discharge of untreated wastewater
account for 579,900 kg CO2 per year in the city.
The cooperation between WaCCliM and the WMA in Thailand has raised the
local awareness for the challenges in the wastewater sector and the need for
improvements in the urban water management in order to achieve resilient water
utilities. Therefore, knowledge transfer and capacity building are necessary for longterm
success and continuous progress.
The Water and Wastewater Companies for Climate Mitigation (WaCCliM) project aims to improve the efficiency of water and wastewater companies in Mexico, Peru, Thailand, and Jordan, reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and improve the carbon balance of the water sector, while maintaining and/or improving service levels. As part of the project, hydraulic modelling software was used to simulate the Cusco, Peru drinking water transmission system and evaluate various scenarios (water loss reduction, pump replacement, and system reconfiguration) and their energy impacts. Results showed the transmission system’s pumping energy could be reduced up to 40 percent depending on the scenario. A holistic view on the total urban water cycle has also helped to identify that a combined effort to conserve water at the end user level, reduce water loss, reuse water, and rainwater harvesting will ultimately make the biggest impact on the transmission system’s energy consumption and GHG emissions, and lead to the most sustainable and resilient urban water management for SEDACUSCO and the City. This study has also demonstrated that water distribution system models can play an invaluable role in water utility climate change mitigation and adaptation planning.