Sometimes the best answer to daunting problems is the simplest one. Restoring and protecting forests today is one measure that can help prevent the water crises of tomorrow.
Brazil's forests are its historic first line of defense against water stress and water-related natural disasters, but now these forests are under pressure. Will Brazil increase investment in its natural infrastructure to defend against water crises?
Water risk poses a major risk to businesses. While there are a variety of publicly-available frameworks for guiding corporate water action, five key trends have emerged, from data disclosure to changing company culture.
Many databases cover the world's physical water resources, but none give a global picture of water management and policy. Since companies already track water management where they have operations, a crowdsourced approach relying on their input could spin up the database quickly.
In response to water crises across the globe, data on biophysical conditions associated with water risk have increasingly been collected and understood. However, a complete assessment of water risk also requires an understanding of public water management. Currently there is a lack of global...
Thermal power companies rely on water for cooling, and are therefore susceptible to water stress. Prudent investors would do well to pay attention to the impact water stress could have on their energy-sector investments.
Cape Town, South Africa is poised to shut off water taps for homes and businesses in the next few months. Is the next "Day Zero" coming to a city near you?
This paper aims to help decision-makers understand the magnitude of water issues for the thermal power sector in India with quantitative evidence. There is a significant data gap in power plant water use in India. The authors used data science techniques and innovative methodologies and...
WRI has worked to reframe sludge and wastewater as inputs rather than outputs, reducing water stress and greenhouse gas emissions while creating cleaner water and renewable energy. Analyses of this potential informed a wastewater reuse policy in Gujarat, India, and a push in China’s 13th Five-Year Plan to recover energy and resources from sludge and wastewater.
Rapid urbanization in China and India stresses energy grids and water resources in regions that are already water-stressed. China’s water resources per capita, for example, are only 35 percent of the global average, and India’s are just 19 percent. At the same time, rapidly growing economies in China and India are accelerating demand for energy. Waste and wastewater are usually regarded only as wastes and pollutants. Conventional organic waste and sewage treatment methods for removing pollutants are energy-intensive and release potent greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide.
Since 2013, WRI China has worked in six cities to introduce circular economy approaches to capture previously wasted resources. WRI’s work with large Chinese cities shows that such approaches can help cities achieve multiple Sustainable Development Goals, including cleaner water, less waste, renewable energy production and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. WRI developed an analysis to determine the national, city and project-level potential to avoid greenhouse gas emissions and capture energy. WRI worked with local and national stakeholders to advance circular economy approaches for waste and wastewater once their potential was realized.
WRI India supported the government of the water-poor state of Gujarat in developing its Waste Water Recycle and Reuse Policy, providing research support and technology evaluation for wastewater and sharing WRI’s international experience.
For the first time, China’s 13th Five-Year Plan requires the recovery of energy and resources from sludge and wastewater in cities across China to the extent possible. Three new sludge-to-energy projects in Beijing were initiated in the last year, serving 4.5 million people and producing 136 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy per year, equivalent to avoiding the use of 41,000 metric tonnes (more than 45,000 U.S. tons) of standard coal. By 2020, these approaches could cut China’s methane emissions – currently the world’s largest – by up to 4 percent. Besides meeting the energy demand of the projects’ operation, the captured methane could be used to replace 1.9 billion liters (500 million gallons) of gasoline, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 1.3 million cars.
Gujarat became the first Indian state to adopt a wastewater reuse policy, mandating that urban local bodies recover 20 percent of wastewater. The states of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have since adopted similar policies.