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Why It Matters

Let's stop pumping water through leaky pipes.

Water utilities are among the largest consumers of electricity globally, corresponding to about 1% of total electricity use worldwide. Up to 80% of that energy is spent in pumping water alone. But about 35% of that water is wasted in the distribution network through pipe leakage, meter error, and unauthorized consumption (a.k.a. water theft). This dramatically reduces the supply of water over time and produces unnecessary emissions.

Two major water efficiency solutions already exist: pressure management and active leak detection. Pressure management involves installing pressure valves at water inlets and outlets to better monitor the flow of water and pressures, and leads to reductions in pipe bursts and leaks from broken pipes. 

While addressing leaks takes financial investment, it's the cheapest way to source new supply. These strategies serve growing urban populations - if we can cut water losses by half, that water could supply some 90 million people

We need water efficiency solutions to expand, fast.

From a climate perspective, too, improving water distribution efficiency is a major win. Project Drawdown estimates that if nearly half of the global water distribution network can be equipped with pressure management and leak detection solutions, they can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 0.94 gigatons by 2050. That's the equivalent to emissions from 204.5 million passenger vehicles over a whole year.

But so far, these solutions aren't being implemented fast or widely enough. Water utilities fail to tackle the issue of water loss because they may lack institutional or technical capacity. They're not incentivized to act because they're not required to, or because building new treatment facilities is easier and more exciting, or even because acknowledging leakage problems also means acknowledging management problems. 

Here are the companies making it happen.

We carefully scrutinize all water efficiency companies that are publicly traded on US stock market. We first take out penny stocks whose share prices were lower than $0.50 in our last update.

Of the remaining companies, only those that offer products and services that detect and prevent water leakage from distribution infrastructure get included in the Climate Index. Companies that help organizations conserve water, rather than prevent leakage in water distribution, are excluded. 

So the Climate Index represents a list of all of the companies that are at the forefront of the Drawdown solution of water distribution efficiency. If you are a Carbon Collective member, you own all of these companies through the Climate Index.

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