Advertisement

Water — and nutrient and energy — systems in urbanizing watersheds

  • Rodrigo Villarroel WalkerEmail author
  • Michael Bruce Beck
  • Jim W. Hall
Research Article

Abstract

Driven by considerations of sustainability, it has become increasingly difficult over the past 15–20 years — at least intellectually — to separate out the water infrastructure and water metabolism of cities from their intimately inter-related nutrient and energy metabolisms. Much of the focus of this difficulty settles on the wastewater component of the city’s water infrastructure and its associated fluxes of nutrients (N, P, C, and so on). Indeed, notwithstanding the massive volumes of these materials flowing into and out of the city, the notion of an urban nutrient infrastructure is conspicuous by its absence. Likewise, we do not tend to discuss, or conduct research into, “soilshed” agencies, or soilshed management, or Integrated Nutrient Resources Management (as opposed to its most familiar companion, Integrated Water Resources Management, or IWRM). The paper summarizes some of the benefits (and challenges) deriving from adopting this broader, multi-sectoral “systems” perspective on addressing water-nutrient-energy systems in city-watershed settings. Such a perspective resonates with the growing interest in broader policy circles in what is called the “water-food-energy security nexus”. The benefits and challenges of our Multi-sectoral Systems Analysis (MSA) are illustrated through computational results from two primary case studies: Atlanta, Georgia, USA; and London, UK. Since our work is part of the International Network on Cities as Forces for Good in the Environment (CFG; see www.cfgnet.org), in which other case studies are currently being initiated — for example, on Kathmandu, Nepal — we close by reflecting upon these issues of water-nutrient-energy systems in three urban settings with quite different styles and speeds of development.

Keywords

cities climate change energy sector nutrient sector systems analysis resource recovery water-foodenergy security 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Das K C, Garcia-Perez M, Bibens B, Melear N. Slow pyrolysis of poultry litter and pine woody biomass: impact of chars and bio-oils on microbial growth. Journal of Environmental Science and Health. Part A, Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering, 2008, 43(7): 714–724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Beck M B, Cummings R G. Wastewater infrastructure: challenges for the sustainable city in the new millennium. Habitat International, 1996, 20(3): 405–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    WBCSD. Water, Energy and Climate Change: A Contribution From the Business Community, 2009 Available online at http://www.wbcsd.org/Pages/EDocument/EDocumentDetails.aspx?ID=40 (accessed 20 July, 2012)
  4. 4.
    Kenway S J, Lant P A, Priestley A, Daniels P. The connection between water and energy in cities: a review. Water Science and Technology, 2011, 63(9): 1983–1990CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Rothausen S G S A, Conway D. Greenhouse-gas emissions from energy use in the water sector. Nature Climate Change, 2011, 1(4): 210–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    WEF. Water Security: The Water-Energy-Food-Climate Nexus. Washington D C: Island Press, 2011. Also available online at http://www.weforum.org/reports/water-security-water-energy-food-climate-nexus (accessed 20 July, 2012)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Beck M B. Cities as Forces for Good in the Environment: Sustainability in the Water Sector. Athens, Georgia: Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, University of Georgia, 2011 (ISBN: 978-1-61584-248-4). Available online at http://www.cfgnet.org (accessed 20 July, 2012)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Semadeni-Davies A, Hernebring C, Svensson G, Gustafsson L G. The impacts of climate change and urbanisation on drainage in Helsingborg, Sweden: suburban stormwater. Journal of Hydrology, 2008, 350(1–2): 114–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Waters D, Watt W E, Marsalek J, Anderson B C. Adaptation of a storm drainage system to accommodate increased rainfall resulting from climate change. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 2003, 46(5): 755–770CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ashley R, Blanksby J, Cashman A, Jack L, Wright G, Packman J, Fewtrell L, Poole T, Maksimovic C. Adaptable urban drainage: addressing change in intensity, occurrence and uncertainty of stormwater (AUDACIOUS). Built Environment, 2007, 33(1): 70–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Barles S. Feeding the city: food consumption and flow of nitrogen, Paris, 1801–1914. Science of the Total Environment, 2007, 375(1–3): 48–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Barles S. Urban metabolism and river systems: an historical perspective — Paris and the Seine, 1790–1970. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions, 2007, 4(3): 1845–1878CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Schmid Neset T S, Bader H P, Scheidegger R, Lohm U. The flow of phosphorus in food production and consumption — Linköping, Sweden, 1870–2000. Science of the Total Environment, 2008, 396(2–3): 111–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Guest J S, Skerlos S J, Barnard J L, Beck M B, Daigger G T, Hilger H, Jackson S J, Karvazy K, Kelly L, Macpherson L, Mihelcic J R, Pramanik A, Raskin L, van LoosdrechtMC M, Yeh D, Love N G. A new planning and design paradigm to achieve sustainable resource recovery from wastewater. Environmental Science & Technology, 2009, 43(16): 6126–6130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Mihelcic J R, Fry L M, Shaw R. Global potential of phosphorus recovery from human urine and feces. Chemosphere, 2011, 84(6): 832–839CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lusk P. Methane Recovery from Animal Manures: the Current Opportunities Casebook. Golden, Colorado: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Technical Report NREL/SR-580- 25145, 1998Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Logan B E. Simultaneous wastewater treatment and biological electricity generation. Water Science & Technology, 2005, 52(1–2): 31–37Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Clauwaert P, Rabaey K, Aelterman P, de Schamphelaire L, Pham T H, Boeckx P, Boon N, Verstraete W. Biological denitrification in microbial fuel cells. Environmental Science & Technology, 2007, 41(9): 3354–3360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lardon L, Hélias A, Sialve B, Steyer J P, Bernard O. Life-cycle assessment of biodiesel production from microalgae. Environmental Science & Technology, 2009, 43(17): 6475–6481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Clarens A F, Resurreccion E P, White M A, Colosi L M. Environmental life cycle comparison of algae to other bioenergy feedstocks. Environmental Science & Technology, 2010, 44(5): 1813–1819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Villarroel Walker R, Beck M B. How to re-balance the nitrogen metabolism of the Atlanta-Chattahoochee system? In: Carroll G D, editor. Georgia Water Resources Conference, 2011, Athens, GA, USA. Available online at http://www.gawrc.org/2011proceedings.html (accessed 20 July, 2012)
  22. 22.
    Crutzen P J, Beck M B, Thompson M. Cities, 2007, US National Academy of Engineering, Blue Ribbon Panel on Grand Challenges for Engineering. Available online at http://www.engineeringchallenges.org. (accessed 20 July, 2012)
  23. 23.
    Elkington J. Cannibals with Forks: the Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business. Stony Creek, Connecticut: New Society Publishers, 1998Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Beck M B, Jiang F, Shi F, Villarroel Walker R, Osidele O O, Lin Z, Demir I, Hall J W. Re-engineering cities as forces for good in the environment. Proceedings of the ICE, Engineering Sustainability, 2010, 163(1): 31–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Beck M B, Thompson M, Ney S, Gyawali D, Jeffrey P. On governance for re-engineering city infrastructure. Proceedings of the ICE, Engineering Sustainability, 2011, 164(2): 129–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Villarroel Walker R, Beck M B. Understanding the metabolism of urban-rural ecosystems: a multi-sectoral systems analysis. Urban Ecosystems, 2012Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Antikainen R. Substance Flow Analysis in Finland — Four Case Studies on N and P Flows. Heilsinki, Finland: Finnish Environment Institute, Monographs of the Boreal Environment Research No. 27, 2007Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Lang D J, Binder C R, Stauffacher M, Ziegler C, Schleiss K, Scholz R W. Material and money flows as a means for industry analysis of recycling schemes: a case study of regional bio-waste management. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 2006, 49(2): 159–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Hornberger G M, Spear R C. Approach to the preliminary analysis of environmental systems. Journal of Environmental Management, 1981, 12(1): 7–18Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Osidele O O, Beck M B. An inverse approach to the analysis of uncertainty in models of environmental systems. Integrated Assessment, 2003, 4(4): 265–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Severn Trent Plc. Carbon Management Challenges and Renewable Energy Opportunities in the UK Water and Waste Sectors. Birmingham, UK: Severn Trent Plc., 2005. Available online at http://www.severntrent.co.uk (accessed 4 August, 2011)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Veolia. Annual and Sustainability Report 2008. Paris, France: Veolia Environnement, 2008. Available online at http://www.veolia.com (accessed 8 February, 2012)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    GLA. Delivering London’s Energy Future: the Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy. London: Greater London Authority, 2011. Available online at http://www.london.gov.uk/who-runs-london/mayor/publication/climate-change-mitigationenergy-strategy, 2011 (accessed 28 November, 2011)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Larsen T A, Lienert J. Novaquatis Final Report. NoMix — A New Approach to Urban Water Management. Switzerland: Eawag, 2007Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Malmqvist P A, Aarsrud P, Pettersson F. Integrating wastewater and biowaste in the City of the Future. In: World Water Congress 2010, Montreal, Canada. London: International Water Association (IWA), 2010Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Furness D T, Hoggett L A, Judd S J. Thermochemical treatment of sewage sludge. Water and Environment Journal, 2000, 14(1): 57–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Sturm B S M, Lamer S L. An energy evaluation of coupling nutrient removal from wastewater with algal biomass production. Applied Energy, 2011, 88(10): 3499–3506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Srinath E G, Pillai S C. Phosphorus in wastewater effluents and algal growth. Journal (Water Pollution Control Federation), 1972, 44(2): 303–308Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Stephenson A L, Kazamia E, Dennis J S, Howe C J, Scott S A, Smith A G. Life-cycle assessment of potential algal biodiesel production in the United Kingdom: a comparison of raceways and air-lift tubular bioreactors. Energy & Fuels, 2010, 24(7): 4062–4077CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Biokube. Biokube is biological cleaning of wastewater for single houses, resorts, cities and industries. 2012. Available online at http://www.biokube.com/ (accessed 8 February 2012)
  41. 41.
    Bleeker M, Gorter S, Kersten S, van der Ham L, van den Berg H, Veringa H. Hydrogen production from pyrolysis oil using the steamiron process: a process design study. Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy, 2010, 12(2): 125–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Lienert J, Larsen T A. High acceptance of urine source separation in seven European countries: a review. Environmental Science & Technology, 2010, 44(2): 556–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Beck MB, Villarroel Walker R. Global water crisis: a joined-up view from the city. S.A.P.I.EN.S [Online], 2011, 4(1): 1–4Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Kadam K L. Microalgae Production from Power Plant Flue Gas: Environmental Implications on a Life Cycle Basis. Golden, Colorado: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Technical Report NREL/TP 510-29417, 2001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Kadam K L. Environmental implications of power generation via coal-microalgae cofiring. Energy, 2002, 27(10): 905–922CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    McDonough W, Braungart M. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. New York: North Point Press, 2002Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Villarroel Walker R. Sustainability Beyond Eco-efficiency: A Multisectoral Systems Analysis of Water, Nutrients, and Energy. Dissertation for the Doctoral Degree. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia, 2010Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Hu Z. Modeling Urban Growth in the Atlanta, Georgia Metropolitan Area Using Remote Sensing and GIS. Dissertation for the Doctoral Degree. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia, 2004Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Niemczynowicz J. New aspects of sewerage and water technology. Ambio, 1993, 22(7): 449–455Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Elser J, Bennett E. Phosphorus cycle: a broken biogeochemical cycle. Nature, 2011, 478(7367): 29–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Villarroel Walker R, Beck M B. Innovation, multi-utility service businesses and sustainable cities: where might be the next breakthrough? In: Singapore International Water Week 2012, Singapore: IWA Publishing, 2012Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Collingridge D. The Social Control of Technology. Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1981Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Thompson M. Unsiteability: what should it tell us? Risk, 1996, 7(2): 169–179Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Gyawali D. Water, sanitation and human settlements: crisis, opportunity or management? Water Nepal, 2004, 11(2): 7–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Thompson M. Material Flows and Moral Positions, 2011, CFG Network: CFG Insight. Available online at http://www.cfgnet.org (accessed 20 July, 2012)
  56. 56.
    van Asselt M, Rotmans J. Uncertainty in perspective. Global Environmental Change, 1996, 6(2): 121–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Dixit A. Basic Water Science. Kathmandu, Nepal: Nepal Water Conservation Foundation, 2002Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    NWCF. The Bagmati: Issues, Challenges and Prospects. Kathmandu, Nepal: Nepal Water Conservation Foundation (NWCF), Technical Report prepared for King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation, 2009Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Liang S, Zhang T. Urban metabolism in China achieving dematerialization and decarbonization in Suzhou. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 2011, 15(3): 420–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Côté R, Grant J, Weller A, Zhu Y, Toews C. Industrial ecology and the sustainability of Canadian cities. Nova Scotia, Canada: Eco-Efficiency Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Report prepared for The Conference Board of Canada, 2006Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Dagerskog L, Coulibaly C, Ouandaoga I. The emerging market of treated human excreta in Ouagadougou. Urban Agriculture Magazine, 2010, 23: 45–48Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Tanikawa H, Sakamoto T, Hashimoto S, Moriguchi Y. Visualization of regional material flow using over-flow potential maps. In: 6th International Conference on EcoBalance 2004, Tsukuba, Japan. Tsukuba: The Society of Non-Traditional Technology, 2004, 567–570Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Dong X, Zeng S, Chen J. A spatial multi-objective optimization model for sustainable urban wastewater system layout planning. Water Science & Technology, 2012, 66(2): 267–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Lefèvre B. Urban transport energy consumption: determinants and strategies for its reduction. An analysis of the literature. S.A.P.I.EN. S [Online], 2009, 2(3): 35–51Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Kaye J P, Groffman P M, Grimm N B, Baker L A, Pouyat R V. A distinct urban biogeochemistry? Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 2006, 21(4): 192–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rodrigo Villarroel Walker
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Bruce Beck
    • 1
  • Jim W. Hall
    • 2
  1. 1.Warnell School of Forestry & Natural ResourcesUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Change InstituteUniversity of Oxford, Oxford University Centre for the EnvironmentOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations