Effective water management cuts costs and carbon, and boosts resiliency

Location: New York, United States

Population: 8,804,190

Climate: Humid subtropical

Duration: N/A

Sector: Water

Funding sources: Public.

City networks: C40

Savings: The program saves more than 150 tonnes of CO2e and 77 kg of NOx emissions each year

Solutions: The implementation of the Water Demand Management Program.

Multiple benefits: Social, health, economic and environmental co-benefits.

Despite having a plentiful supply of water and climate change projections predicting higher rainfall, New York City has made steps to future-proof its water supply and reap the benefits of accompanying energy savings.

Objective – The Program aims to achieve a 5% overall reduction in water consumption citywide by 2020.

SolutionsThe Water Demand Management Program in New York City will ensure the city’s climate adaptability while supporting an ever-increasing population. The proposal aims to minimize water usage and costs, carbon and nitrous oxide emissions, and combined sewer overflows.

The savings were obtained through collaborations between eight NYC government agencies and ten area municipalities to implement six water-saving techniques across various usage sectors.

A water-energy nexus tool was developed to calculate the relationship between decreasing water demand and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to integrate water demand management into the city’s ambitious climate agenda. NYC estimates that these water efficiency programs save more than 570,000 kWh of energy used for pumping and treatment each year, avoiding more than 150 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2e) emissions and saving the city more than $60,000 in energy expenses. By measuring savings and connecting the statistics to bigger environmental challenges, the city raises public awareness and encourages residents to modify their behaviour.

Funding – The funding body, New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection.

Innovation – N/A

Success factors – 1) Work together to maximize impact: The financing agency, New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection, owns a small percentage of the facilities targeted for savings. As a result, citizen engagement and collaboration among other organizations and private building owners and managers have been critical to the project’s success. 2) Sharing information: The city of New York built an interactive online map where the public can observe the completed projects and the corresponding water, energy, and GHG emissions savings for each drainage region. 3) Leverage challenges to inform best practices: “Water Challenges” were initiated with hotels, restaurants, hospitals, and universities, with participants calculating baseline water consumption, tracking usage, and developing conservation plans. The findings influenced the development of water efficiency recommendations for various industries and identified sector-specific savings opportunities.

Significant outcomes

  • The city anticipates that the program will save more than $60,000 in energy expenditures for potable water and wastewater treatment each year;
  • It is projected that through reducing water demand and wastewater discharges, the program saves more than 150 tonnes of CO2e and 77 kg of NOx emissions each year.

Synergies with local policies:

  • OneNYC 2050 plans to protect the city’s future from today’s and tomorrow’s threats, developing a solid and fair city by taking significant climate action, achieving fairness, and strengthening democracy.
  • Green Infrastructure program. Its goal is to build and maintain curbside gardens. It has supported other green infrastructure, such as permeable paving, which absorbs stormwater before reaching the sewage system (source).

Political alignment:

  • The U.S. Global Water Strategy. To move the Strategy forward, the U.S. The government will collaborate with partner countries and key stakeholders to achieve four interconnected goals: expanding access to sustainable, safe drinking water, safeguarding freshwater resources, and promoting cooperation on shared waters.

 Marketability: N/A

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Sector: Water

Country / Region: United States

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In 1 user collection: Good practices of cities

Knowledge Object: User generated Initiative

Published by: Realdania