ECAM: World’s first holistic tool to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions from urban water services

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ECAM: World’s first holistic tool to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions from urban water services

ECAM, a tool for the water sector to transition towards energy and carbon neutrality

The Energy Performance and Carbon Emissions Assessment and Monitoring (ECAM) tool enables water utilities to measure and manage their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy consumption at a system-wide level. By identifying areas to reduce GHG emissions, increase energy savings and improve overall efficiencies to reduce costs, ECAM offers a holistic approach for urban water utilities to shift to low energy, low carbon water management. The water sector can make significant contributions to the Paris Agreement target of keeping global temperature rise to well below 2°, and the respective Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), although awareness of this opportunity is currently limited.

“The contribution of the water sector to GHG emissions is complex and therefore often under-recognised”, said Astrid Michels, Project Manager of the Water and Wastewater Companies for Climate Mitigation (WaCCliM) project that has developed the ECAM tool, “ECAM helps utilities develop an emissions baseline, identify areas of improvement to reduce indirect and direct emissions, and monitor progress over time.”
Identify areas to reduce GHG emissions, increase energy savings and improve overall efficiencies to reduce costs.
ECAM is a free and open source tool that has been successfully piloted by utilities in Jordan, Mexico, Peru and Thailand that participate in the WaCCliM project, to achieve dramatic reductions in GHG emissions:

San Francisco del Rincón, Mexico, has achieved almost a 50% reduction of its total GHG emissions compared to the baseline established with ECAM in 2014. This has been achieved through treating more wastewater to reduce methane emissions and improving pumping efficiency. Additional measures have been identified that would lead to a reduction of 65% in total emissions.

Cusco, Peru, has saved 5,300 t CO2 emissions per year, representing 20% of its total carbon emissions. A total GHG reduction potential of 30% has been identified through greater pumping efficiency and wastewater reuse.

Chiang Mai, Thailand, has used ECAM to establish a baseline for municipal wastewater treatment and identify a 12% GHG reduction potential.

Madaba, Jordan joined WaCCliM in 2016 and is using ECAM to assess its carbon footprint to unlock financing for low carbon water and wastewater infrastructure to help meet its GHG reduction potential.

In addition to the pilots, utilities in over 20 cities have now used the ECAM tool to assess and drive GHG reductions. ECAM was recently endorsed by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group as a means to empower cities around the world to measure the emissions of their urban water, identify and plan reduction measures, and shift to a low-carbon, resilient future.

Suggestions and feedback are highly welcome!

Further Information

ECAM is available under:
● Learn about how to carry out a GHG and energy assessment in this User Manual
● Find further resources about ECAM and the WaCCliM Project under:

Notes to Editors
ECAM was developed by the International Water Association (IWA), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA). ECAM is a central component of the WaCCliM project, part of the International Climate Initiative. The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.

The ECAM tool development was based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories methodology. It provides the opportunity to develop scenarios and model reduction impacts of future measures, as well as to monitor GHG reduction results after their implementation. It can help utilities prepare for future reporting needs on climate mitigation. ECAM also assists in linking Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of mitigation actions in the water sector to national level.

Elaine Wing Yee Cheung
M.Sc. Hydro Science & Engineering, B.Sc. Geography

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Re: ECAM: World’s first holistic tool to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions from urban water services

I would like to point out that the ECAM tool has been developed to assess greenhouse gas emissions of centralized water and sanitation systems. It currently can estimate the GHG emissions from onsite sanitation but only in a generalized manner that does not differentiate between different technologies and practices.

It may be possible that in the future we can include also more options for decentralized sanitation systems. Therefore, any feedback from this community on how this should be done and especially any relevant studies that you can share on greenhouse gas emissions from fecal sludge management are welcome.

Ranjin Fernando
Water and Wastewater Companies for Climate Mitigation (WaCCliM)
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
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