Towards a climate neutral water sector: mitigation opportunities in the urban water cycle 

Urban water management is one of the services most affected by the impacts of climate change, threatening the capacity of service providers to deliver safe water, protect rivers and oceans, as well as protect people and assets from extreme water events such as flooding. 

Water, sanitation and urban drainage utilities can contribute up to 15% to their cities’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Therefore, utilities are significant actors in the path towards decarbonisation and net zero. 

With urgent action needed on mitigation, the International Water Association is launching a new webinar series, organised by IWA’s Climate Smart Utilities Initiative in partnership with DANVA, to raise awareness of key sources of GHG emissions from the urban water cycle and showcase pioneering net zero solutions.

With a focus on progress in the Nordics, the series will provide an overview of GHG emissions from wastewater treatment and the relevance of process emissions of nitrous oxide and methane. It will highlight progress made through the Danish national monitoring programmes for nitrous oxide and methane, share actions by progressive utilities and regulators, and provide a space for discussion and collaboration on mitigation. 

The series, structured in four webinars, aims to empower participants to understand where to focus, to develop insights into the monitoring and reduction of GHG emissions and to improve their GHG accounting methodologies and considerations.  

The first webinar ‘Towards a Climate Neutral Water Sector: the Nordic Experience’ takes place on 2 May. The webinar will focus on the main sources of emissions in the urban water cycle. The webinar will also present a recent collaborative document on the Nordic Principles for moving towards a climate-neutral water sector, focusing on GHG accounting approaches and on the importance of developing a common understanding. It will finish with a utility showcase by Bergen Vann, a progressive water utility from Norway that will share exemplary actions. Sign up for free here.  

The second and third webinars will focus on methane and nitrous oxide emissions respectively, sharing learnings from the collaborative Danish national monitoring programmes which have helped drive progress. The webinars will present quantification approaches, findings and successes in emissions reduction to date. The discussion will explore what has driven such progress and how these efforts have led to sustained action and motivated utilities worldwide in monitoring and reducing their emissions. 

The final webinar of the series will offer a systems view. Looking beyond GHG emissions, we will consider the role played by the water sector within planetary boundaries. This will showcase innovative life cycle carbon assessment which is being used in decision-making processes related to resource recovery.  

We invite practitioners, engineers, consultants, students and researchers, operators, and carbon accounting professionals to join the series and engage with IWA’s Climate Smart Utilities initiative to share knowledge and exchange practices for a climate neutral water sector. 

Save the dates!


Towards a Climate Neutral Water Sector: the Nordic Experience

2 May 13:00 BST, 14:00 CET  


Monitoring and mitigating methane: Danish lessons for global action  

26 June  


Monitoring and mitigating nitrous oxide: Danish lessons for global action   

12 September 


Climate Smart Water Futures within Planetary Boundaries  

3 October 


IWA’s Climate Smart Utilities Initiative 

Stakeholders interested in improving their climate resilience while contributing to significant and sustainable reduction of carbon emissions are encouraged to engage with IWA’s Climate Smart Utilities initiative. The initiative aims to deliver value to utilities and inspire the wider water professional community. 

The initiative offers several opportunities, such as: 

  • A community of practice around adaptation and mitigation to climate change to support bridging science and practice and trigger the necessary cultural shifts and actions 
  • A web platform an online space to share resources and contribute to the wider dissemination of the change agenda 
  • A utility leaders peer-to-peer exchange programme to drive decision making towards Climate Smart 
  • A Recognition Programme and Climate Smart Vision to inspire and increase awareness & encourage utilities to include climate change in their agendas 

Benedetta Sala

Communications & Advocacy Specialist
Benedetta joined IWA in 2021 and is currently supporting the communications team as Communications & Advocacy Specialist (Consultant). She is responsible for the daily management of external relations and communications at IWA, including press, s... Read full biography