Veolia: Water Impact Index


Laurent Auguste: President of Veolia Water (North America) presented Veolia’s new Water Impact Index at the 2010 Milwaukee Water Summit to show the new trend in water Sustainability. The Water Impact Index will assess the impact of the activity or a product upon a freshwater source through the impact on the quantity of  the water, stress on resources and quality. The Importance of the carbon footprint impact because there are alternatives of Gas and Coal. But unlike oil water does not have an alternative, 8 tons of oil is consumed per year while 2,140 tons of water is consumed per year (250 times more).  Water is consumed in two fashions withdraw and pollution. It is almost impossible to build a global calculation due to the local and regional difference of water resources. But locally this water footprint can show the efficiency and effectiveness of water conservation and infrastructure.
The 2010 April edition of National Geographic introduced the virtual contents of water in products; this issue introduced a form of awareness similar to how calories did for the food we consume. However, Veolia points out that yes this awareness is important but the National Geographic model failed to incorporate the component of water quality and water stress impact. For example, the National Geographic model states that Peanuts were six times more impactful then Tomatoes sauce. But when really looking at the life cycle to the two products it is vice versa, Impact of Tomato sauce: irrigated farm typically in water stressed areas, required fertilizer (pollution) while the impact of Peanuts: rain-fed agriculture.  This is important for how we understand basic consumer products. Therefore, we must look into more than just volume consumption, but also the level of stress and quality.
The Calculation that Veolia has developed has two basic stages indirect and direct impact. The indirect are typically added to regional and local differences while the direct is: Water Stress Index x ((Volume consumed by utility x Quality Index)– (Discharge water x quality index)).  This video below introduces a basic Case Study Veolia had done in Milwaukee using extensive data from Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage Districts, Milwaukee Water Works, North Shore Water Commission, Oak Creek Water and Sewer Utility, and Cudahy Water Utility.
The research broke down the Urban Water Cycle into: Raw Water Abstraction, Drinking Water Production, Drinking water distribution, wastewater collection, wastewater treatment, treated wastewater release, waste and sludge management, and network maintenance. Completed a cost benefits analysis on the efficiency of resources used across each and pinpointed inefficiencies through he Carbon Foot Print. The CFP of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage Districts is around 230,000 tons of Co2, which are rough 15,500 people. 2/3 of the CFP of the Capital works are coming from the pipes material. The Milwaukee regional studies showed a 7x decrease in the scale of the water quantity over ten years and provided extensive improvements for the regional utilities.




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