The Path to Drawdown: Water Distribution
Water utilities are among the largest consumers of electricity globally, corresponding to about 1% of total electricity use. Up to 80% of that energy is used for pumping water alone. But ~35% of that water is wasted in the distribution network through pipe leakage, meter error, and unauthorized consumption. This dramatically reduces the supply of water over time and produces unnecessary emissions.
Two major water efficiency solutions already exist that can minimize this leakage: 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 also serve growing urban populations and reduce GHG emissions.
Project Drawdown estimates that, if 38-47% of the global water distribution network can adopt pressure management and leak detection solutions, they can reduce CO2e emissions by 0.66 - 0.94 gigatons between 2020 and 2050. That’s an emissions cut equivalent to taking close to 204.5 million passenger vehicles off the road for one year.