The Path to Drawdown: Water Distribution Efficiency
Water utilities are among the largest consumers of electricity globally. They’re responsible for about 1% of total electricity use in the world. Up to 80% of that energy is used for pumping water alone. But ~35% of that water is wasted through pipe leakage, meter error, and unauthorized consumption. This all adds up, dramatically reducing the supply of water over time and producing unnecessary emissions to generate the energy used to pump more water.
Water efficiency solutions can minimize this leakage. Pressure management and active leak detection are two important solutions. Pressure management involves installing pressure valves at water inlets and outlets to better monitor water flow and pressures, and leads to reductions in pipe bursts and leaks. Solving leaks takes substantial investment, but it’s the cheapest way to source new supply, serve growing urban populations, and reduce emissions.
Project Drawdown estimates that, if 38-47% of the global water distribution network can adopt these solutions, it could reduce CO2e emissions by 0.66 - 0.94 gigatons between 2020 and 2050. That’s an emissions reduction equivalent to taking close to 204.5 million passenger vehicles off the road for one year.