Global consultancies Mott MacDonald and Ricardo have collaborated with UK water companies and industry body Water UK to develop the world’s first sector strategy for achieving net zero carbon on operational emissions.
The water industry ‘Net Zero 2030 Routemap’ was unveiled on 12 November by Water UK, which represents all of the UK’s water and wastewater companies. In 2019 the water companies in England committed to achieving net zero by 2030 – 20 years ahead of the UK as a whole. The Routemap explains how this could be achieved.
“Net zero isn’t something that any one water or wastewater company can achieve alone. Every single organisation will have to work with its peers, with the whole of its supply chain, with landowners and with its customers. Government and regulators have pivotal roles in setting the policy and legislative frameworks to enable and incentivise the transition. Net zero by 2030 will be a huge team effort,” said Mike Haigh, Mott MacDonald’s executive chair. “There will be many challenges but also opportunities and rewards.”
The Routemap highlights a broad range of ‘levers’ for reducing emissions, including green energy, water and wastewater treatment, consumer demand, alternative fuels, asset management and carbon sequestration, all enabled by supply chain alignment, collaboration with other infrastructure sectors, research, development and innovation, and digital technology. It offers different pathways to net zero, to suit the requirements of water/water and wastewater companies and their different operating and location characteristics.
The industry is already addressing several knowledge gaps addressed in the report, particularly regarding emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from wastewater treatment. It urges companies to share knowledge and collaborate to solve common challenges and scale-up benefits.
Progress towards the net zero carbon goal will be independently assessed and reported annually.
“What has been achieved through the hard work, collaboration and innovative thinking, is an ambitious and critical strategy that identifies the pathways for UK water companies to build on their good work to date and bring their carbon emissions down to the net zero target,” said Ricardo CEO Dave Shemmans.
“With this Routemap, Water UK has blazed a trail – we’re proud of our part in developing it. Others are eager to study it and learn. The next decade will be an exciting one as the industry pursues the goal,” said Mike Haigh.
- Read the routemap: www.water.org.uk/routemap2030