Advertisement

Impact of urban water supply on energy use in China: a provincial and national comparison

  • Kate Smith
  • Shuming Liu
  • Yi Liu
  • Dragan Savic
  • Gustaf Olsson
  • Tian Chang
  • Xue Wu
Original Article

Abstract

To reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and help mitigate climate change, urban water systems need to be adapted so that electrical energy use is minimised. In this study, energy data from 2011 was used to quantify energy use in China’s urban water supply sector. The objective was to calculate the energy co-benefits of urban water conservation policies and compare energy use between China and other countries. The study investigated influencing factors with the aim of informing the development of energy efficient urban water infrastructure. The average energy use per cubic metre and per capita for urban water supply in China in 2011 was 0.29 kWh/m3 and 33.2 kWh/cap year, respectively. Total GHG emissions associated with energy use in the urban water supply sector were 7.63 MtCO2e, or carbon dioxide equivalent. Calculations using these indicators showed significant energy savings could result from water conservation measures. A comparison between provinces of China showed a direct correlation between energy intensity of urban water supply and the population served per unit length of pipe. This may imply energy and emission intensity can be reduced if more densely populated areas are supplied by a corresponding pipe density, rather than by a low-density network operating at higher flow rates. This study also found that while the percentage of electrical energy used for urban water supply tended to increase with the percentage of population served, this increase was slower where water supply was more energy efficient and where a larger percentage of population was already supplied.

Keywords

China Climate change Electrical energy use Greenhouse gas emissions Sustainability Water-energy nexus Water infrastructure Water supply 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Tsinghua-Veolia Environnement Joint Research Center for Advanced Environmental Technology (Project Number: CITY2) and the Tsinghua Independent Research Grant.

References

  1. ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) (2008) 3239.0.55.001 - Population, Australian states and territories, Dec 2007. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3239.0.55.001. Cited 25 December 2013
  2. Alcamo J, Doll P, Henrichs T, Kaspar F, Lehner B, Rosch T et al (2003) Development and testing of the WaterGAP 2 global model of water use and availability. Hydrolog Sci J 48:317–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Buckley C, Friedrich E, von Blottnitz H (2011) Life-cycle assessments in the South African water sector: a review and future challenges. Water SA 37:719–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. CEPP (China Electric Power Press) (2012) China electric power yearbook. China Electric Power Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  5. Chavez-Rodriguez MF, Nebra SA (2010) Assessing GHG emissions, ecological footprint, and water linkage for different fuels. Environ Sci Technol 44:9252–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen Y, Li L, Jiang L, Grady C, Li X (2013) The impact of urban water use on energy consumption and climate change: a case study of household water use in Beijing. In: Younos T, Grady CA (eds) Climate change and water resources. Hdb Env Chem, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp 169–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cohen R, Nelson B, Wolff G (2004) Energy down the drain: the hidden costs of California’s water supply. Natural Resources Defence Council and Pacific Institute, OaklandGoogle Scholar
  8. Corcoran L, Coughlan P, McNabola A (2013) Energy recovery potential using micro hydropower in water supply networks in the UK and Ireland. Water Sci Tech-W Sup 13:552–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. CUWA (China Urban Water Association) (2012) Urban water supply yearbook. China Urban Water Association, Beijing (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  10. EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) (2002) Water and sustainability (volume 4): U.S. electricity consumption for water supply and treatment: the next half century. Electric Power Research Institute, Palo AltoGoogle Scholar
  11. Filion YR (2008) Impact of urban form on energy use in water distribution systems. J Infrastruct Syst 14:337–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Friedrich E (2002) Life-cycle assessment as an environmental management tool in the production of potable water. Water Sci Technol 46:29–36Google Scholar
  13. Friedrich E, Pillay S, Buckley CA (2009) Environmental life cycle assessments for water treatment processes—a South African case study of an urban water cycle. Water SA 35:73–84Google Scholar
  14. Green F, Stern N (2014) An innovative and sustainable growth plan for China: A critical decade. Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy/Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the EnvironmentGoogle Scholar
  15. Gregory KB, Vidic RD, Dzombak DA (2011) Water management challenges associated with the production of shale gas by hydraulic fracturing. Elements 7:181–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Griffiths-Sattenspiel B, Wilson W (2009) The carbon footprint of water. River Network, PortlandGoogle Scholar
  17. Hu GP, Ou XM, Zhang Q, Karplus VJ (2013) Analysis on energy-water nexus by Sankey diagram: the case of Beijing. Desalin Water Treat 51:4183–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hutson SS (2004) Estimated use of water in the United States in 2000. U.S. Geological Survey, RestonGoogle Scholar
  19. Kahrl F, Roland-Holst D (2008) China’s water-energy nexus. Water Policy 10:51–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kargbo DM, Wilhelm RG, Campbell DJ (2010) Natural gas plays in the Marcellus Shale: challenges and potential opportunities. Environ Sci Technol 44:5679–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kenway SJ, Priestley A, Cook S, Seo S, Inman M, Gregory A et al (2008) Energy use in the provision and consumption of urban water in Australia and New Zealand. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  22. Klein G, Krebs M, Hall V, O’Brien T, Blevins BB (2005) California’s water-energy relationship. California Energy Commission, SacramentoGoogle Scholar
  23. Kyung D, Kim D, Park N, Lee W (2013) Estimation of CO2 emission from water treatment plant—model development and application. J Environ Manage 131:74–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Li X, Feng KS, Siu YL, Hubacek K (2012) Energy-water nexus of wind power in China: the balancing act between CO2 emissions and water consumption. Energ Policy 45:440–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Liang S, Zhang TZ (2011) Interactions of energy technology development and new energy exploitation with water technology development in China. Energy 36:6960–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lingsten A, Lundkvist M, Hellstrom D, Balmer P (2008) Description of the current energy use in water and waterwater systems in Sweden. The Swedish Water & Wastewater Association (SWWA), StockholmGoogle Scholar
  27. Meda A, Lensch D, Schaum C, Cornel P (2012) Energy and water: relations and recovery potential. In: Lazarova V, Choo KH, Cornel P (eds) Water-energy interactions of water reuse. IWA Publishing, London, pp 21–35Google Scholar
  28. Miller LA, Ramaswami A, Ranjan R (2013) Contribution of water and wastewater infrastructures to urban energy metabolism and greenhouse gas emissions in cities in India. J Environ Eng-Asce 139:738–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Murray KE (2013) State-scale perspective on water use and production associated with oil and gas operations, Oklahoma, U.S. Environ Sci Technol 47:4918–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. NBS (National Bureau of Statistics) (2013a) China population statistics 2011. Available from: http://www.stats.gov.cn/. Cited 17 November 2013
  31. NBS (National Bureau of Statistics) (2013b) China GDP statistics 2011. Available from: http://www.stats.gov.cn/. Cited 17 November 2013
  32. NBS (National Bureau of Statistics) (2014) 2013 National economic and social development statistics bulletin. Available from: http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjsj/zxfb/201402/t20140224_514970.html. Cited 15 June 2014
  33. Olsson G (2012a) Water and energy: conflicts and connections. Water 21(14):12–6Google Scholar
  34. Olsson G (2012b) Water and energy: threats and opportunities. IWA Publishing, LondonGoogle Scholar
  35. Pan LY, Liu P, Ma LW, Li Z (2012) A supply chain based assessment of water issues in the coal industry in China. Energ Policy 48:93–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. PRC (People’s Republic of China) (2011) 12th Five-Year Plan. http://cbi.typepad.com/china_direct/2011/05/chinas-twelfth-five-new-plan-the-full-english-version.html. Cited 29 May 2014
  37. PRC (People’s Republic of China) (1999) Code for Urban Water Supply Engineering Planning GB 50282–98, People’s Republic of China National StandardsGoogle Scholar
  38. Racoviceanu AI, Karney BW, Kennedy CA, Colombo AF (2007) Life-cycle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions inventory for water treatment systems. J Infrastruct Syst 13:261–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rothausen SGSA, Conway D (2011) Greenhouse-gas emissions from energy use in the water sector. Nat Clim Chang 1:210–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schneider K (2011) Water needs curtail coal gasification for fuel. Water Front Magazine, Stockholm, pp 12–3Google Scholar
  41. Schnoor JL (2011) Water-energy nexus. Environ Sci Technol 45:5065CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Siddiqi A, Anadon LD (2011) The water-energy nexus in Middle East and North Africa. Energ Policy 39:4529–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Smith K, Liu S, Chang T (2015) Contribution of urban water supply to greenhouse gas emissions in China. J Ind Ecol. doi:10.1111/jiec.12290Google Scholar
  44. Stokes JR, Horvath A (2009) Energy and air emission effects of water supply. Environ Sci Technol 43:2680–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sweetapple C, Fu GT, Butler D (2014) Multi-objective optimisation of wastewater treatment plant control to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Water Res 55:52–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) (2014) Greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator. Available from: http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html#results. Cited 25 December 2014
  47. Venkatesh G, Brattebø H (2011) Energy consumption, costs and environmental impacts for urban water cycle services: case study of Oslo (Norway). Energy 36:792–800CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Vieira AS, Beal CD, Ghisi E, Stewart RA (2014) Energy intensity of rainwater harvesting systems: a review. Renew Sust Energ Rev 34:225–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wang JX, Rothausen SGSA, Conway D, Zhang LJ, Xiong W, Holman IP et al (2012) China’s water-energy nexus: greenhouse-gas emissions from groundwater use for agriculture. Environ Res Lett 7:1–10Google Scholar
  50. Wang JL, Feng LY, Tverberg GE (2013) An analysis of China’s coal supply and its impact on China’s future economic growth. Energ Policy 57:542–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Webster M, Donohoo P, Palmintier B (2013) Water-CO2 trade-offs in electricity generation planning. Nat Clim Chang 3:1029–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Yang H, Zhou Y, Liu JG (2009) Land and water requirements of biofuel and implications for food supply and the environment in China. Energ Policy 37:1876–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Zhou YC, Zhang B, Wang HK, Bi J (2013) Drops of energy: conserving urban water to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Environ Sci Technol 47:10753–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Zou X, Li Y, Li K, Cremades R, Gao Q, Wan Y, Qin X (2013) Greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural irrigation in China. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Chang. doi: 10.1007/s11027-013-9492-9 Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate Smith
    • 1
  • Shuming Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yi Liu
    • 1
  • Dragan Savic
    • 3
  • Gustaf Olsson
    • 4
  • Tian Chang
    • 1
  • Xue Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EnvironmentTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Tsinghua-Veolia Environnement Joint Research Center for Advanced Environmental TechnologyTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Centre for Water SystemsUniversity of ExeterExeterUK
  4. 4.IEALund UniversityLundSweden

Personalised recommendations