Research highlight

The water sector — a thirsty business

Nature Climate Change

June 27, 2011

The water industry expends much energy in the process of abstraction, transport and treatment of fresh water and wastewater, as concluded in a review published online this week in Nature Climate Change.

Much attention has been given to the need for sustainable water resource management, but far less to the growing energy use and associated greenhouse-gas emissions from the water sector.

The authors Sabrina Rothausen and Declan Conway quantify energy use in the water sector and detail the extent of current knowledge on emissions from wastewater and agricultural water use. Transparency in the water industry’s energy use is likely to be important for the industry to meet its carbon-reduction commitments while responding to other measures of sustainability, such as the need for stricter quality standards and increasing demand.

doi: 10.1038/nclimate1147

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