Contributing to carbon neutrality within water distribution services

University essay from KTH/Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik

Abstract: Water production and distribution services, just like all human activity, have an impact on the environment. One indicator of that impact is its carbon footprint, which corresponds to the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emitted due to that activity. In order to counter global warming, mankind must reduce the GHG emissions of its activities.  Water services emit GHG at many steps, directly or indirectly: the production of the electricity used for pumping, the production and transport of chemical reagents used in water treatment, the maintenance works on the network and facilities, the daily commuting and travels of the technicians to operate the service, and more.  This diversity of sources calls for an even greater diversity of possible actions to reduce the carbon footprint. Maximizing the environmental benefits of such measures while ensuring their feasibility and limiting the costs of all sorts (financial, social, organizational) is most likely to be achieved when an action plan is designed.  This Master’s Thesis suggests a framework for the assessment of the possible actions through various criteria, and their arrangement into an effective action plan. The assessment criteria aim at a better understanding of each action and their consequences, so that the action is more likely to be effective. Moreover, some elements of context can have a huge influence on the effectiveness of some actions, which highlights the need for a methodological framework that will help take these elements into account. 

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