Monday, June 27, 2011

Scientists warn of energy drain of water technology

Jessica Shankleman in BusinessGreen: Governments and businesses have been urged to accelerate efforts to reduce the energy intensity of water processes, such as waste water treatment and transportation, in order to address the water industry's sizeable carbon footprint.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia yesterday published a study online in Nature Climate Change, arguing that energy use and greenhouse gas emissions arising from water management processes are poorly understood, but are likely to become increasingly important over the coming decades.

Water related energy use, through processes such as treating fresh and waste water, accounts for five per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the US, and the proportion is even higher in the UK, according to the report's authors Professor Declan Conway and Sabrina Rothausen. Estimates for India suggest that emissions from lifting water for irrigation could account for as much as six per cent of total national emissions.

The study argues that the water industry has invested heavily in developing more sustainable resource management policies and techniques, but less attention has been paid to tackling growing energy use and associated emissions….

A water tower in Darmstadt, Germany, shot by Heidas, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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