Linkages between WASH and Climate mitigation: Webinar series

November 2023

Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is an important part of the climate mitigation solution. Emissions from untreated wastewater are three times higher than emissions from conventional Wastewater Treatment Plants. There lies potential opportunities for energy and heat generation from wastewater, which is much larger in scale than energy demand for their operations. Energy efficiency measures, use of renewable energies such as solar and wind power, reducing demand and losses, resource recovery and energy generation from wastewater are measures with positive mitigation results.However, these potential opportunities often go unseen. There is a data and knowledge gap that hampers effective integration of WASH in climate policies and mitigation strategies. It is also noted that WASH projects rarely focus on estimating the potential for emissions reduction. More and better data and reporting of actual GHG emissions is needed.

In this context  Center for Water and Sanitation at CEPT Research Development Foundation, and SIWI organized a webinar on 21st November, 2023 on unpacking the linkages between WASH and Climate mitigation. 

In the webinar, one of the presentations was focused on findings from a research study on ‘Mitigation measures in drinking water and sanitation services’, that describes the mitigation measures for various potential adverse impacts resulting from the management of water and wastewater systems.

The session also covered experience from three Indian cities where efforts have been taken to move towards non-fossil based / renewable energy sources for WASH operations which would help reduce carbon emission, and also help cities to become financially sustainable with reduced recurring expenditure. Apart from focus on energy transition, the session also showcased aspects on climate friendly citywide inclusive sanitation approaches that have been taken to ensure that vulnerable and marginalized communities are served and women SHGs are formally engaged.

The panel discussion explored the areas of climate mitigation, both from global perspective and Indian context, bringing-up aspect of increasing the energy efficiency of water supply, use of renewable energies in water supply production, reduction of GHG emissions through safely managed sanitation with a focus on vulnerable communities, measuring emissions in WASH, among others.