Advertisement

Climatic Change

, Volume 125, Issue 2, pp 209–220 | Cite as

The water impacts of climate change mitigation measures

  • Philip J. Wallis
  • Michael B. Ward
  • Jamie Pittock
  • Karen Hussey
  • Howard Bamsey
  • Amandine Denis
  • Steven J. Kenway
  • Carey W. King
  • Shahbaz Mushtaq
  • Monique L. Retamal
  • Brian R. Spies
Article

Abstract

A variety of proposed activities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions will impact on scarce water resources, which are coming under increasing pressure in many countries due to population growth and shifting weather patterns. However, the integrated analysis of water and carbon impacts has been given limited attention in greenhouse mitigation planning. In this Australian case study, we analyse a suite of 74 mitigation measures ranked as highest priority by one influential analysis, and we find that they have highly variable consequences for water quantity. We find: (1) The largest impacts result from land-based sequestration, which has the potential to intercept large quantities of water and reduce catchment yields, estimated to exceed 100 Mm3/MtCO2-e of carbon mitigated (100,000 l per tonne CO2-e). (2) Moderate impacts result from some renewable power options, including solar thermal power with a water cost estimated at nearly 4 Mm3/MtCO2-e. However, the water impacts of solar thermal power facilities could be reduced by designing them to use existing power-related water supplies or to use air or salt-water cooling. (3) Wind power, biogas, solar photovoltaics, energy efficiency and operational improvements to existing power sources can reduce water demand through offsetting the water used to cool thermal power generation, with minor savings estimated at 2 Mm3/MtCO2-e and amounting to nearly 100 Mm3 of water saved in Australia per annum in 2020. This integrated analysis significantly changes the attractiveness of some mitigation options, compared to the case where water impacts are not considered.

Keywords

Mitigation Measure Water Saving Water Footprint Carbon Price Cost Curve 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Supplementary material

10584_2014_1156_MOESM1_ESM.doc (142 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 142 kb)

References

  1. ABARES (2011) Australian energy statistics – energy update 2011 (table O). Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  2. ABS (2011) Water Account, Australia 2009–10, 4610.0. Australian Bureau of Statistics. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4610.02009-10?OpenDocument. Accessed 29 April 2013
  3. Australian Government (2011). Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011. No. 101, 2011. An Act about projects to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and projects to avoid emissions of greenhouse gases, and for other purposes. Canberra, Commonwealth of AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown AE, Podger GM, Davidson AJ, Dowling TI, Zhang L (2007) Predicting the impact of plantation forestry on water users at local and regional scales: an example for the Murrumbidgee river basin, Australia. Forest Ecol Manag 251:82–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carter NT (2010) Energy’s Water Demand: Trends, Vulnerabilities, and Management. Congressional Research Service. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41507.pdf. Accessed 29 April 2013
  6. ClimateWorks Australia (2010) Low Carbon Growth Plan for Australia. ClimateWorks Australia. http://www.climateworksaustralia.org/low_carbon_growth_plan.html. Accessed 29 April 2013
  7. Cook S, Hall M, Gregory A (2012) Energy use in the provision and consumption of urban water in Australia: an update. CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country Flagship, Australia. Prepared for the Water Services Association of AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  8. DCCEE (2011) Carbon credits (carbon farming initiative) regulations 2011. Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  9. Department of the Environment (2014) Australia’s emissions reduction targets. Australian Government http://www.climatechange.gov.au/climate-change/greenhouse-gas-measurement-and-reporting/australias-emissions-projections/australias. Accessed 11 April 2014
  10. Gerbens-Leenes PW, Hoekstra AY, Meer van der T H (2008) Water Footprint of Bio-energy and Other Primary Energy Carriers. UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. http://doc.utwente.nl/59998/. Accessed 29 April 2013
  11. Gleick PH (1994) Water and energy. Annu Rev Energy Environ 19:267–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Grafton RQ, Ward MB (2008) Prices versus rationing: marshallian surplus and mandatory water restrictions. Econ Rec 84:s57–s65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Herron N, Davis R, Jones R (2002) The effects of large-scale afforestation and climate change on water allocation in the Macquarie River catchment, NSW, Australia. J Environ Manag 65:369–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hightower M, Pierce SA (2008) The energy challenge. Nature 452:285–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Howells M, Hermann S, Welsch M, Bazilian M, Segerström R, Alfstad T, Gielen D, Rogner H, Fischer G, Van Velthuizen H, Wiberg D, Young C, Roehrl RA, Mueller A, Steduto P, Ramma I (2013) Integrated analysis of climate change, land-use, energy and water strategies. Nat Clim Chang 3:621–626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hussey K, Pittock J (2012) The energy-water nexus: managing the links between energy and water for a sustainable future. Ecol Soc 17:31Google Scholar
  17. ITS Global (2011) Low Carbon Growth Plan for Australia: A Critique of the Report by Climate Works Australia. http://www.itsglobal.net/node/47. February 13
  18. Kenway SJ et al. (2008) Energy Use in the Provision and Consumption of Urban Water in Australia and New Zealand. CSIRO. http://www.csiro.au/files/files/pntk.pdf. Accessed 29 April 2013
  19. Kenway SJ, Lant P, Priestley A (2011) Quantifying the links between water and energy in cities. J Water Clim Chang 2:247–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kesicki F, Ekins P (2012) Marginal abatement cost curves: a call for caution. Clim Pol 12:219–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. King CW, Webber ME (2008) Water intensity of transportation. Environ Sci Technol 42:7866–7872CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Marsh D (2009) The water-energy nexus: A comprehensive analysis in the context of New South Wales. Dissertation, University of Technology SydneyGoogle Scholar
  23. Mitchell CD, Harper RJ, Keenan RJ (2012) Current status and future prospects for carbon forestry in Australia. Aust For 75:200–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mushtaq S, Maraseni TN, Reardon-Smith K (2013) Climate change and water security: estimating the greenhouse gas costs of achieving water security through investments in modern irrigation technology. Agric Syst 117:78–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. NETL (2010) Cost and Performance Baseline for Fossil Energy Plants Volume 1: Bituminous Coal and Natural Gas to Electricity, Revision 2. National Energy Technology Laboratory, US Department of Energy, Report DOE/NETL-2010/1397Google Scholar
  26. NWC (2011) The National Water Initiative—securing Australia’s water future: 2011 assessment. National Water Commission. http://www.nwc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/8244/2011-BiennialAssessment-full_report.pdf. Accessed 29 April 2013
  27. NWC (2012) Water Policy and Climate Change in Australia. National Water Commission. http://archive.nwc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/22129/Water-policy-and-climate-change-in-Australia-full.pdf. Accessed 29 April 2013
  28. Pittock J (2011) National climate change policies and sustainable water management: conflicts and synergies. Ecol Soc 16:25Google Scholar
  29. Polglase P et al. (2011) Opportunities for carbon forestry in Australia: Economic assessment and constraints to implementation. CSIRO. http://www.csiro.au/files/files/p10tz.pdf. Accessed 29 April 2013
  30. Polglase P, Paul K, Hawkins C, Siggins A, Turner J, Booth T, Crawford D, Jovanovic T, Hobbs, T, Opie K, Almeida A (2008) Regional Opportunities for Agroforestry Systems in Australia (RIRDC Publication No. 08/176). Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra.Google Scholar
  31. Polglase PJ, Reeson A, Hawkins CS, Paul KI, Siggins AW, Turner J, Crawford DF, Jovanovic T, Hobbs TJ, Opie K, Carwardine J, Almeida A (2013) Potential for forest carbon plantings to offset greenhouse emissions in Australia: economics and constraints to implementation. Clim Chang 121:161–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Psi Delta (2012) Water entitlement market prices (summary) Murray-Darling Basin. http://www.environment.gov.au/water/policy-programs/entitlement-purchasing/pubs/market-prices-sum-dec12.pdf. Accessed Aug 1 2013
  33. Retamal M, Glassmire J, Abeysuriya K, Turner A, White S (2009) The Water-Energy Nexus: investigation into the energy implications of household rainwater systems. Institute of Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  34. Retamal ML, Turner A, White S (2010) The water-energy-climate nexus: systems thinking and virtuous circles. In: Smith J, Howe C, Henderson J (eds.), Climate Change and Water: International Perspectives on Mitigation and Adaptation. IWA Publishing. http://www.isf.uts.edu.au/publications/retamal2009climatechange.pdf. Accessed 29 April 2013
  35. Rothausen SGSA, Conway D (2011) Greenhouse-gas emissions from energy use in the water sector. Nat Clim Chang 1:210–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sanders O, Goesch T, Hughes N (2010) Adapting to Water Scarcity. ABARE Issues and Insights 10.5, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Canberra, ACTGoogle Scholar
  37. Smart A, Aspinall A (2009) Water and the Electricity Generating Industry. National Water Commission. http://archive.nwc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/10432/Waterlines_electricity_generation_industry_replace_final_280709.pdf. Accessed 29 April 2013
  38. Spies B, Dandy G (2012) Sustainable water management: Securing Australia’s future in a green economy. Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. http://www.atse.org.au/Documents/Publications/Reports/Water/ATSE%202012%20Sustainable%20Water%20Management%20REPORT.pdf. Accessed 29 April 2013
  39. US EPA (2011) Emission Factors for Greenhouse Gas Inventories. US EPA 2011. http://www.epa.gov/climateleadership/documents/emission-factors.pdf. Accessed 29 April 2013
  40. Usher J, Riedy C, Milne G, Rutovitz J (2010) Carbon Capture and Storage in Perspective. Institute for Sustainable Futures. http://www.greenpeace.org.au/climate/assets/docs/CCS_in_Perspective_2010.pdf. Accessed 29 April 2013
  41. van Dijk AIJM, Keenan RJ (2007) Planted forests and water in perspective. Forest Ecol Manag 251:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. WSAA (2012) Cost of Carbon Abatement in the Australian Water Industry. Water Services Association of Australia. https://www.wsaa.asn.au/WSAAPublications/Occasional%20Papers/Occasional%20Paper%2028_Cost_carbon%20_abatement_%20in%20urban%20water%20industry.pdf. Accessed 29 April 2013
  43. Zhang L, Dawes WR, Walker GR (2001) Response of mean annual evapotranspiration to vegetation changes at catchment scale. Water Resour Res 37:701–708CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip J. Wallis
    • 1
  • Michael B. Ward
    • 1
  • Jamie Pittock
    • 2
  • Karen Hussey
    • 2
  • Howard Bamsey
    • 2
  • Amandine Denis
    • 3
  • Steven J. Kenway
    • 4
  • Carey W. King
    • 5
  • Shahbaz Mushtaq
    • 6
  • Monique L. Retamal
    • 7
  • Brian R. Spies
    • 8
  1. 1.Monash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.The Australian National UniversityAustralian Capital TerritoryAustralia
  3. 3.Climate Works AustraliaVictoriaAustralia
  4. 4.The University of QueenslandBrisbane, QueenslandAustralia
  5. 5.The University of TexasAustin, TexasUSA
  6. 6.University of Southern QueenslandToowoomba, QueenslandAustralia
  7. 7.University of Technology SydneyBroadway, New South WalesAustralia
  8. 8.Independent ConsultantNew South WalesAustralia

Personalised recommendations