Main Article Content
In recent years, water utilities have been under pressure to increase the efficiency of their processes, mainly due to the decrease in water availability and the need to increase environmental sustainability in their processes. Leak reduction is clearly an important part of sustainable management in the water industry, and its impacts should be assessed with a broader environmental protection objective. This study aimed to present an environmental and energy assessment of the water supply system (WSS) in Caruaru City, northeast of Brazil, for different levels of water loss. This research is one of the first to assess the environmental impacts of a WSS in Latin America. Primary data adopted for preparing the inventory were provided by the water utility, and modeling and analysis were performed with the SimaPro 8.0® program. Cumulative energy demand (CED) was used to track the energy consumption of the system’s life cycle. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were calculated through the IPCC GWP 100a method with emissions expressed as CO2-Eq. The data sets from life-cycle inventories were used from the Ecoinvent 3.1 database. Four scenarios with different levels of water loss were analyzed. Scenario S0 was represented with the real conditions of the system, whereas the others considered hypothetical indices. The percentages proposed for Scenarios S1, S2, and S3 were based on indices that indicate good loss rate in the distribution network for the Brazilian reality (25%), reduction by half of loss rates, and excellent loss rates for the water pipeline system (5%) and distribution network (10%). The analysis of the processes’ contributions showed that the electricity consumption of the pumping systems of water mains represented the greatest environmental impact in all scenarios. The most efficient scenario would result in a 52% reduction in the emission of GHGs, demonstrating that the increase in the hydraulic efficiency of the distribution networks represents a significant opportunity to reduce the environmental impacts of the processes.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
approach. Journal of Industrial Ecology, v. 10, (1-2), 169-184. https://doi.
Bartolozzi, I.; Baldereschi, E.; Daddi, T.; Iraldo, F., 2018. The application of life
cycle assessment (LCA) in municipal solid waste management: a comparative
study on street sweeping services. Journal of Cleaner Production, v. 182, 455-
Basheer, M.; Elagib, N.A., 2018. Sensitivity of water–energy nexus to
dam operation: a water–energy productivity concept. Science of the Total
Environment, v. 616-617, 918-926. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.10.228.
Brazilian National Sanitation Information System – SNIS. 2018. Diagnóstico
dos serviços de água e esgotos 2016. Secretaria Nacional de Saneamento
Ambiental, Ministério do Desenvolvimento Regional, Brasília.
Buyle, M.; Anthonissen, J.; Van Den Bergh, W.; Braet, J.; Audenaert, A.,
2019. Analysis of the Belgian electricity mix used in environmental life cycle
assessment studies: How reliable is the Ecoinvent 3.1 mix? Energy Efficiency, v.
12, (5), 1105-1121. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12053-018-9724-7.
Chhipi-Shrestha, G.; Hewage, K.; Sadiq, R., 2017. Water–energy–carbon nexus
modeling for urban water systems: System dynamics approach. Journal of
Water Resources Planning and Management, v. 143, (6), 04017016. https://doi.
D’ercole, M.; Righettia, M.; Ugarellib, R.M.; Berardic, L.; Bertolad, P., 2016.
An integrated modeling approach to optimize the management of a water
distribution system: Improving the sustainability while dealing with water loss,
energy consumption and environmental impacts. Procedia Engineering, v. 162,
Duarte, A.D.; Silva, G.L., 2020. Aplicação da ferramenta de análise de ciclo de vida
(ACV) no processo de tratamento de efluentes em uma lavanderia de beneficiamento
de jeans. Exacta, v. 18, (2), 355-367. https://doi.org/10.5585/exactaep.v18n2.8370.
Escriva-Bou, A.; Lund, J.R.; Pulido-Velazquez, M.; Hui, R.; Medellín–
Azuara, J., 2018. Developing a water–energy–GHG emissions modeling
framework: insights from an application to California’s water system.
Environmental Modelling & Software, v. 109, 54-65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.
Esnouf, A.; Heijungs, R.; Coste, G.; Latrille, É.; Steyer, J.P.; Hélias, A., 2019. A
tool to guide the selection of impact categories for LCA studies by using the
representativeness index. Science of the Total Environment, v. 658, 768-776.
Garfí, M.; Cadena, E.; Sanchez-Ramos, D.; Ferrer, I., 2016. Life cycle
assessment of drinking water: comparing conventional water treatment,
reverse osmosis and mineral water in glass and plastic bottles. Journal
of Cleaner Production, v. 137, 997-1003. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.
Ghimire, S.R.; Johnston, J.M.; Ingwersen, W.W.; Sojka, S., 2017. Life cycle
assessment of a commercial rainwater harvesting system compared with a
municipal water supply system. Journal of Cleaner Production, v. 151, 74-86.
Hsien, C.; Low, J.S.C.; Fuchen, S.C.; Han, T.W., 2019. Life cycle assessment of
water supply in Singapore – A water–scarce urban city with multiple water
sources. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, v. 151, 104476. https://doi.
Igos, E.; Dalle, A.; Tiruta-Barna, L.; Benetto, E.; Baudin, I.; Mery, Y., 2014. Life
cycle assessment of water treatment: what is the contribution of infrastructure
and operation at unit process level? Journal of Cleaner Production, v. 65, 424-
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2013. Climate change
2013: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the
Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York.
International Standard Organization (ISO), 2006a. ISO 14040: Environmental
management — life cycle assessment — principles and framework. Geneve.
International Standard Organization (ISO), 2006b. ISO 14044: Environmental
management — life cycle assessment — requirements and guidelines. Geneve.
Jacquemin, L.; Pontalier, P.-Y.; Sablayrolles, C., 2012. Life cycle assessment
(LCA) applied to the process industry: a review. International Journal of Life
Cycle Assessment, v. 17, (8), 1028-1041. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-012-
Jeong, H.; Broesicke, O.A.; Drew, B.; Crittenden, J., 2018. Life cycle assessment
of small scale greywater reclamation systems combined with conventional
centralized water systems for the City of Atlanta, Georgia. Journal of Cleaner
Production, v. 174, 333-342. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.10.193.
Jeong, H.; Minne, E.; Crittenden, J.C., 2015. Life cycle assessment of the city of
Atlanta, Georgia’s centralized water system. The International Journal of Life
Cycle Assessment, v. 20, (6), 880-891. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-015-
Kjaer, L.L.; Pigosso, D.C.; McAloone, T.C.; Birkved, M., 2018. Guidelines
for evaluating the environmental performance of product/service–systems
through life cycle assessment. Journal of Cleaner Production, v. 190, 666-678.
Lemos, D.; Dias, A.C.; Gabarrell, X.; Arroja, L., 2013. Environmental
assessment of an urban water system. Journal of Cleaner Production, v. 54,
Li, Y.; Xiong, W.; Zhang, W.; Wang, C.; Wang, P., 2016. Life cycle assessment
of water supply alternatives in water–receiving areas of the South–to–North
Water Diversion Project in China. Water Research, v. 89, 9-19. https://doi.
Meron, N.; Blass, V.; Garb, Y.; Kahane, Y.; Thoma, G., 2016. Why going beyond
standard LCI databases is important: lessons from a meta–analysis of potable
water supply system LCAs. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, v.
21, (8), 1134-1147. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-016-1096-7.
Meron, N.; Blass, V.; Thoma, G., 2020. A national–level LCA of a water
supply system in a Mediterranean semi–arid climate – Israel as a case study.
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, v. 25, 1133-1144. https://doi.
Mohamed-Zine, M.B.; Hamouche, A.; Krim, L., 2013. The study of potable
water treatment process in Algeria (boudouaou station) – by the application
of life cycle assessment (LCA). Journal of Environmental Health Science and
Engineering, v. 11, 37. https://doi.org/10.1186/2052-336X-11-37.
Nair, S.; George, B.; Malano, H.M.; Arora, M.; Nawarathna, B., 2014. Waterenergy-
greenhouse gas nexus of urban water systems: Review of concepts,
state-of-art and methods. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, v. 89, 1-10.
Oikonomou, K.; Parvania, M., 2018. Optimal coordination of water
distribution energy flexibility whit power systems operation. IEEE
Transaction on Smart Grid, v. 10, (1), 1101-1110. https://doi.org/10.1109/
Peña, C.; Civit, B.; Gallego-Schmid, A.; Druckman, A.; Caldeira-Pires,
A.; Weidema, B.; Mieras, E.; Wang, F.; Fava, J.; Milà i Canals, L.; Cordella,
M.; Arbuckle, P.; Valdivia, S.; Fallaha, S.; Motta, W., 2021. Using life cycle
assessment to achieve a circular economy. International Journal of Life Cycle
Assessment, v. 26, (2), 215-220. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-020-01856-z.
Pillot, J.; Catel, L.; Renaud, E.; Augeard, B.; Roux, P., 2016. Up to what point is
loss reduction environmentally friendly?: The LCA of loss reduction scenarios
in drinking water networks. Water Research, v. 104, 231-241. https://doi.
Pokhrel, P.; Lin, S.L.; Tsai, C.T., 2020. Environmental and economic
performance analysis of recycling waste printed circuit boards using life cycle
assessment. Journal of Environmental Management, v. 276, 111276. https://doi.
Rasul, M.G.; Arutla, L.K.R., 2020. Environmental impact assessment of green
roofs using life cycle assessment. Energy Reports, v. 6, (suppl. 1), 503-508.
Rasul, M.G.; Sharma, B., 2016. The nexus approach to water–energy–food
security: an option for adaptation to climate change. Climate Policy, v. 6, (16),
Rodriguez, O.O.O.; Villamizar-Gallardo, R.A.; García, R.G., 2016. Life cycle
assessment of four potable water treatments plants in northeastern Colombia.
Ambiente & Água, v. 11, (2), 268-278. http://dx.doi.org/10.4136/ambiagua.
Rothausen, S.G.; Conway, D., 2011. Greenhouse–gas emissions from energy
use in the water sector. Nature Climate Change, v. 1, (4), 210-219. https://doi.
Santana, R.A.; Bezerra, S.T.M.; Santos, S.M.; Coutinho, A.P.; Coelho, I.C.L.;
Pessoa, R.V.S., 2019. Assessing alternatives for meeting water demand: A case
study of water resource management in the Brazilian Semiarid region. Utilities
Policy, v. 61, 100974. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jup.2019.100974.
Thiede, S.; Schönemann, M.; Kurle, D.; Herrmann, C., 2016. Multi-level
simulation in manufacturing companies: The water-energy nexus case.
Journal of Cleaner Production, v. 139, 1118-1127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.
Trinh, L.T.K.; Hu, A.H.; Lan, Y.C.; Chen, Z.H., 2020. Comparative life cycle
assessment for conventional and organic coffee cultivation in Vietnam.
International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, v. 17, (3),
Uche, J.; Martínez-Gracia, A.; Círez, F.; Carmona, U., 2015. Environmental
impact of water supply and water use in a Mediterranean water stressed region.
Journal of Cleaner Production, v. 88, 196-204. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.
Valencia-Barba, Y.E.; Gómez-Soberón, J.M.; Gómez-Soberón, M.C.; López-
Gayarre, F., 2020. An epitome of building floor systems by means of LCA
criteria. Sustainability, v. 12, (13), 5442. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135442.
Xue, X.; Cashman, S.; Gaglione, A.; Mosley, J.; Weiss, L.; Cissy Ma, X.;
Cashdollar, J.; Garland, J., 2019. Holistic analysis of urban water systems in
the Greater Cincinnati region: (1) Life cycle assessment and cost implications.
Water Research X, v. 2, 100015. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wroa.2018.100015.
Zahraee, S.M.; Shiwakoti, N.; Stasinopoulos, P., 2020. A review on waterenergy-
greenhouse gas nexus of the bioenergy supply and production system.
Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports, v. 7, (2), 28-39. https://doi.
Zhou, L.; Bao, Q.; Liu, Y.; Wu, G.; Wang, W.; Wang, X.; He, B.; Yu, H.;
Li, J., 2015. Global energy and water balance: Characteristics from
finite-volume atmospheric model of the IAP/LASG (FAMIL1). Journal
of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, v. 7, (1), 1-20. https://doi.