Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT February 2020

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/1202034

Contents of this Issue


Page 20 of 47

The Knowledge www.wwtonline.co.uk | WWT | FEBRAURY 2020 | 21 How the water sector is moving to be net zero Water companies have ambitious plans to reach net zero carbon by 2030, ahead of commitments made by other industries, but how will the strategy work, what changes to technology and infrastructure are required and who will foot the bill? Stephen Cousins reports. T he deluge of rain and floods that hit many parts of England in the months leading up to Christmas, not to men- tion ferocious bushfires in Australia, provided further evidence of the devastating impacts of global warming and the need for drastic action to drive down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As the fourth most energy- intensive industry in the UK, the water sector is a major national contributor to emis- sions responsible for around five million tonnes each year, roughly equivalent to 378,000 cars with average use. Aware of the impact, water companies in England and Wales have joined together with an ambitious commit- ment to achieve net zero emissions by 2030, well ahead of the government's 2050 net zero target for the country as a whole. The pledge could signal a major turning point and is one of five voluntary Public Interest Commitments agreed by the sector. A roadmap for implementation of net zero is currently being developed by trade body Water UK in collaboration with consultants Ricardo and Mott MacDonald. Experts are predicting fundamental changes to water infrastructure systems, plus greater interaction with other infrastructure sectors, the en- vironment, wider society and the economy. Some projects, such as a plan to plant 11 mil- lion new trees that will suck CO2 from the atmosphere, are already underway, while other activities will require more ef- fort, research and investment. The plan must deliver GHG reductions yet still accommo- date tightening environmental constraints on water quality and Ofwat's requirement to cut annual consumer bills. It also raises serious questions for supply chain activities and infrastructure assets. Brian Cox, water management con- sultancy practice director at consultancy Atkins said: "The commitment will require col- laboration across the supply chain to ensure that emissions are reduced across all suppli- ers rather than simply being displaced. Bold decisions will be needed to consider whether carbon-inefficient assets with years of life remaining are bet- ter replaced sooner." Raising the bar Weather events like extreme flooding, wildfires and violent storms have become a com-

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Water & Wastewater Treatment - WWT February 2020