Sydney Waters Climate Change Strategy Feb 2008


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Sydney Waters Climate Change Strategy Feb 2008

  1. 1. Climate Change Strategy Low carbon, high water security
  2. 2. Climate change – a risk for the water industry The world’s scientists widely agree that human activity is causing the climate to change and become less predictable. This complex and long-term global problem could affect Sydney Water’s capacity to provide services to its customers. There is no simple fix. However, Sydney Water will work with customers and stakeholders to: • reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change • minimise the impact on operations. The organisation must prepare and adapt to make its business sustainable into the future. 1
  3. 3. Sydney Water’s exposure to climate change risk Sea level rise coupled with increased storm surge could pose risks to low lying coastal assets. Uncertainty about future Sydney Water has considered •cause sea levels and storm climate is compounding the the potential range of events surges to increase, posing risks associated with climate that may arise from climate a flood risk to low-lying variability. In densely change. Sydney Water is coastal assets populated areas of Australia working to identify, measure •change the structure where economic activity is and respond to risks and stability of soils, greatest, rainfall has associated with these events leading to greater risk declined over the latter part so that the business is well of pipe failure of last century. In the past prepared to withstand them. •disrupt electricity supplies 25 years there have been A drier, warmer climate may: due to increased storm fewer high rainfall events •reduce supplies of fresh activity or excessive over catchments on the east water demand during heatwaves. coast, including Sydney’s Warragamba catchment. •increase customer demand A legislated, national for water greenhouse emission The Intergovernmental Panel trading scheme is likely to •increase the risk of severe on Climate Change’s (IPCC) begin by 2012. The scheme bushfires in catchments, 2007 Assessment Report will put a price on reducing the quality of found overwhelming greenhouse gas emissions, water run-off scientific evidence – greater which could significantly than a 90 per cent chance – •increase algal blooms in increase the costs of that human activity is dams, with implications for electricity, construction causing significant global taste, odour and toxicity projects, and other areas of warming. The IPCC predicts •increase the risk of pipe Sydney Water’s operations. that further significant corrosion and odours Understanding Sydney warming is likely if Water’s carbon risk exposure •cause more extreme storms greenhouse gas emissions is imperative in planning for that test the capacity of continue to increase. emissions trading. sewage treatment plants 2
  4. 4. Sydney Water’s response In a unique position, Sydney Water: Sydney Water aims to engage • is clearly exposed to the risks with the community and be part associated with climate change of a broad societal response to • consumes almost one per cent of grid climate change by communicating electricity in NSW its research, reducing greenhouse emissions and adapting to a • has the capacity to generate accredited carbon-constrained environment. renewable energy Sydney Water is committed to • creates a large volume of accredited working with the NSW carbon offsets Government to secure water • is required by law to minimise the supplies for the long term environmental impact of its activities, through key actions under the including energy use. Metropolitan Water Plan, including water conservation, recycling and desalination. Sydney Water has developed a Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan to effectively identify A key study is examining the and address the risks associated with climate likely impacts of climate change change. The plan outlines how the organisation on water supplies and demand will: across Sydney. The project is a NSW and Australian government- sponsored collaboration between Sydney Water, the NSW Department of Water and Research to… Energy, the NSW Department of better understand Environment and Climate Change, the extent of its carbon CSIRO, Sydney Catchment footprint and the Authority, the Australian Green- impacts of climate house Office and the University change of NSW. Sydney Water has plans to reduce the effects of climate change on its operations and infrastructure to ensure that it can maintain Mitigate by… its services over coming decades. Actions will include reducing the cutting its emissions Adapt to… risk of business interruption by 60% by 2012, becoming from severe windstorms or carbon neutral by 2020, reduce the risk of adverse heavy rainfall, and the risk of and by engaging with impacts on operations flooding from sea level rise business and the and infrastructure, and and storm surge. community to reduce improve the sustainability Because of uncertainty about emissions of fresh water supplies climate change and its impacts, Sydney Water will take an adaptive approach and progressively incorporate the latest and most accurate scientific knowledge into its risk management processes. 3
  5. 5. Becoming carbon neutral In July 2007, Sydney Water Sydney Water has adopted the cogeneration or purchase made a commitment to a set of carbon management of renewable energy. By 2009, become carbon neutral principles that form the basis Sydney Water will be for energy and electricity of its Greenhouse Mitigation generating about 20 per cent consumption by 2020, and Framework. Priority is given to of its electricity needs through set an interim target of a reducing emissions, firstly by hydro-generation and biogas 60 per cent reduction in avoiding energy use and then cogeneration projects. emissions by 2012. By 2020, through using energy more Any remaining emissions will Sydney Water aims to have efficiently, for example using be offset with carbon credits, eliminated, or offset, more more energy efficient pumps firstly through Sydney Water than 400,000 tonnes of and treatment processes. programs such as WaterFix. greenhouse gases each year, Greenhouse emissions will Sydney Water generates a equivalent to taking 100,000 be considered over the full large number of government- cars off the road every year. lifecycle for major projects accredited carbon credits Sydney Water is the most or new facilities. through its customer demand energy-intensive Australian Next under the carbon management programs and corporation to commit to carbon neutrality yet. management principles is renewable energy projects. Sydney Water’s Greenhouse Mitigation Framework Engage with business and community to reduce greenhouse emissions Offset with external carbon credits Start Offset with internally generated carbon credits Set objectives Measure and report Avoid energy use and the Renewable energy generation of unnecessary Methane and hydro co-generation greenhouse gases purchase Greenpower or lower greenhouse intensity fuels Energy efficiency 4
  6. 6. Key actions Sydney Water’s Climate Change • improving water supply • identifying and implementing Strategy includes: security by participating best practice energy efficiency in the NSW Government’s in water and wastewater • participating in external Metropolitan Water Plan treatment research to better understand and constructing a • becoming carbon neutral the likely future climate of the desalination plant at Kurnell for energy and electricity Sydney region • using accredited renewable consumption by 2020 • quantifying climate change energy to power the • introducing an externally risks to infrastructure and desalination plant verified greenhouse acting to mitigate • fully quantifying the emissions accounting those risks organisation’s carbon footprint and reporting system. Conclusion Sydney Water aims to provide continuity of water and wastewater services in the face of climate change impacts. Sydney Water will achieve this by better understanding climate change risks, reducing net greenhouse emissions to zero and increasing the resilience of infrastructure and water supply sources. 2007 5
  7. 7. Further reading IPCC Working Group 1, Climate Change 2007- Summary for Policymakers, IPCC Working Group 2, Climate Change 2007- Summary for Policymakers, and Ch 11 – Australia and New Zealand CSIRO (2007) Climate Change in Australia Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering & Innovation Council Working Group (2007) Water for Our Cities: building resilience in a climate of uncertainty NSW Government, 2006 Metropolitan Water Plan http://www.waterforlife. metropolitan_water_plan/climate_change NSW Greenhouse Office, NSW Greenhouse Plan 2005 Water Services Association (2006) Refilling the Glass: Exploring the issues surrounding water recycling in Australia. 6
  8. 8. For more information visit Printed on recycled paper SW237 11/07