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Water Res ; 188: 116477, 2021 Jan 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33137527


Historically, little consideration has been given to water performance of urban developments such as "hydrological naturalness" or "local water self-sufficiency". This has led to problems with increased stormwater runoff, flooding, and lack of local contributions to urban water security. Architectural design, water servicing technologies and environmental conditions are each known to influence water performance. However, most existing models have overlooked the integration of these factors. In this work, we asked 'how the water performance of urban developments at site-scale can be quantified, with joint consideration of architectural design, water servicing technologies, and environmental context (i.e. climate and soil)'. Answering this question led to the development of a new method and tool called Site-scale Urban Water Mass Balance Assessment (SUWMBA). It uses a daily urban water mass balance to simulate design-technology-environment configurations. Key features include: (i) a three-dimensional boundary focussed on the "entity" of development (ii) a comprehensive water balance accounting for all urban water flows, (iii) methods that include key variables capturing the interactions of natural, built-environment and socio-technological systems on water performance. SUWMBA's capabilities were demonstrated through an evaluation of a residential infill development case study with alternative design-technology-environment configurations, combining three dwelling designs, seven water technologies and three environmental contexts. The evaluation showed how a configuration can be identified that strikes a balance between the conflicting objectives of achieving the desired dwelling densities whilst simultaneously improving water performance. For two climate zones, the optimal configuration increases the total number of residents by 300% while reducing the imported water per capita and stormwater discharge by 45% and 15%, respectively. We infer that SUWMBA could have strong potential to contribute to performance-based urban design and planning by enabling the water performance of dwelling designs to be quantified, and by facilitating the setting of locally-specific water performance objectives and targets.

Conservação dos Recursos Naturais , Abastecimento de Água , Cidades , Hidrologia , Chuva , Tecnologia , Água
Water Res ; 137: 395-406, 2018 06 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29544822


Water sensitive interventions are being promoted to reduce the adverse impacts of urban development on natural water cycles. However it is currently difficult to know the best strategy for their implementation because current and desired urban water performance is not well quantified. This is particularly at the city-region scale, which is important for strategic urban planning. This work aimed to fill this gap by quantifying the water performance of urban systems within city-regions using 'urban water metabolism' evaluation, to inform decisions about water sensitive interventions. To do this we adapted an existing evaluation framework with new methods. In particular, we used land use data for defining system boundaries, and for estimating natural hydrological flows. The criteria for gauging the water performance were water efficiency (in terms of water extracted externally) and hydrological performance (how much natural hydrological flows have changed relative to a nominated pre-urbanised state). We compared these performance criteria for urban systems within three Australian city-regions (South East Queensland, Melbourne and Perth metropolitan areas), under current conditions, and after implementation of example water sensitive interventions (demand management, rainwater/stormwater harvesting, wastewater recycling and increasing perviousness). The respective water efficiencies were found to be 79, 90 and 133 kL/capita/yr. In relation to hydrological performance, stormwater runoff relative to pre-urbanised flows was of most note, estimated to be 2-, 6- and 3- fold, respectively. The estimated performance benefits from water sensitive interventions suggested different priorities for each region, and that combined implementation of a range of interventions may be necessary to make substantive gains in performance. We concluded that the framework is suited to initial screening of the type and scale of water sensitive interventions needed to achieve desired water performance objectives.

Cidades , Hidrologia/métodos , Ciclo Hidrológico , Austrália , Conservação dos Recursos Naturais/métodos , Chuva , Reciclagem , Urbanização , Águas Residuárias , Abastecimento de Água
Water Res ; 127: 139-149, 2017 12 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29035767


In recent years, cities in some water stressed regions have explored alternative water sources such as seawater desalination and potable water recycling in spite of concerns over increasing energy consumption. In this study, we evaluate the current and future life-cycle energy impacts of four alternative water supply strategies introduced during a decade-long drought in South East Queensland (SEQ), Australia. These strategies were: seawater desalination, indirect potable water recycling, network integration, and rainwater tanks. Our work highlights the energy burden of alternative water supply strategies which added approximately 24% life-cycle energy use to the existing supply system (with surface water sources) in SEQ even for a current post-drought low utilisation status. Over half of this additional life-cycle energy use was from the centralised alternative supply strategies. Rainwater tanks contributed an estimated 3% to regional water supply, but added over 10% life-cycle energy use to the existing system. In the future scenario analysis, we compare the life-cycle energy use between "Normal", "Dry", "High water demand" and "Design capacity" scenarios. In the "Normal" scenario, a long-term low utilisation of the desalination system and the water recycling system has greatly reduced the energy burden of these centralised strategies to only 13%. In contrast, higher utilisation in the unlikely "Dry" and "Design capacity" scenarios add 86% and 140% to life-cycle energy use of the existing system respectively. In the "High water demand" scenario, a 20% increase in per capita water use over 20 years "consumes" more energy than is used by the four alternative strategies in the "Normal" scenario. This research provides insight for developing more realistic long-term scenarios to evaluate and compare life-cycle energy impacts of drought-adaptation infrastructure and regional decentralised water sources. Scenario building for life-cycle assessments of water supply systems should consider i) climate variability and, therefore, infrastructure utilisation rate, ii) potential under-utilisation for both installed centralised and decentralised sources, and iii) the potential energy penalty for operating infrastructure well below its design capacity (e.g., the operational energy intensity of the desalination system is three times higher at low utilisation rates). This study illustrates that evaluating the life-cycle energy use and intensity of these type of supply sources without considering their realistic long-term operating scenario(s) can potentially distort and overemphasise their energy implications. To other water stressed regions, this work shows that managing long-term water demand is also important, in addition to acknowledging the energy-intensive nature of some alternative water sources.

Conservação de Recursos Energéticos , Abastecimento de Água , Cidades , Conservação dos Recursos Naturais , Água Potável , Secas , Queensland , Reciclagem , Água do Mar/química , Purificação da Água/métodos
Water Res ; 109: 287-298, 2017 Feb 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27914259


Energy and greenhouse gas management in urban water systems typically focus on optimising within the direct system boundary of water utilities that covers the centralised water supply and wastewater treatment systems, despite a greater energy influence by the water end use. This work develops a cost curve of water-related energy management options from a city perspective for a hypothetical Australian city. It is compared with that from the water utility perspective. The curves are based on 18 water-related energy management options that have been implemented or evaluated in Australia. In the studied scenario, the cost-effective energy saving potential from a city perspective (292 GWh/year) is far more significant than that from a utility perspective (65 GWh/year). In some cases, for similar capital cost, if regional water planners invested in end use options instead of utility options, a greater energy saving potential at a greater cost-effectiveness could be achieved in urban water systems. For example, upgrading a wastewater treatment plant for biogas recovery at a capital cost of $27.2 million would save 31 GWh/year with a marginal cost saving of $63/MWh, while solar hot water system rebates at a cost of $28.6 million would save 67 GWh/year with a marginal cost saving of $111/MWh. Options related to hot water use such as water-efficient shower heads, water-efficient clothes washers and solar hot water system rebates are among the most cost-effective city-scale opportunities. This study demonstrates the use of cost curves to compare both utility and end use options in a consistent framework. It also illustrates that focusing solely on managing the energy use within the utility would miss substantial non-utility water-related energy saving opportunities. There is a need to broaden the conventional scope of cost curve analysis to include water-related energy and greenhouse gas at the water end use, and to value their management from a city perspective. This would create opportunities where the same capital investment could achieve far greater energy savings and greenhouse gas emissions abatement.

Abastecimento de Água , Água , Austrália , Cidades , Águas Residuárias
Water Res ; 106: 415-428, 2016 Dec 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27750130


Urban areas will need to pursue new water servicing options to ensure local supply security. Decisions about how best to employ them are not straightforward due to multiple considerations and the potential for problem shifting among them. We hypothesise that urban water metabolism evaluation based a water mass balance can help address this, and explore the utility of this perspective and the new insights it provides about water servicing options. Using a water mass balance evaluation framework, which considers direct urban water flows (both 'natural' hydrological and 'anthropogenic' flows), as well as water-related energy, we evaluated how the use of alternative water sources (stormwater/rainwater harvesting, wastewater/greywater recycling) at different scales influences the 'local water metabolism' of a case study urban development. New indicators were devised to represent the water-related 'resource efficiency' and 'hydrological performance' of the urban area. The new insights gained were the extent to which alternative water supplies influence the water efficiency and hydrological performance of the urban area, and the potential energy trade-offs. The novel contribution is the development of new indicators of urban water resource performance that bring together considerations of both the 'anthropogenic' and 'natural' water cycles, and the interactions between them. These are used for the first time to test alternative water servicing scenarios, and to provide a new perspective to complement broader sustainability assessments of urban water.

Abastecimento de Água , Água , Cidades , Conservação dos Recursos Naturais , Reciclagem , Águas Residuárias , Recursos Hídricos
J Environ Manage ; 181: 403-412, 2016 Oct 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27395015


Water shortage, increased demand and rising energy costs are major challenges for the water sector worldwide. Here we use a comparative case study to explore the long-term changes in the system-wide water and associated energy use in two different regions that encountered water shortage. In Australia, South East Queensland (SEQ) encountered a drought from 2001 to 2009, while Perth has experienced a decline in rainfall since the 1970s. This novel longitudinal study quantifies and compares the urban water consumption and the energy use of the water supply systems in SEQ and Perth during the period 2002 to 2014. Unlike hypothetical and long-term scenario studies, this comparative study quantifies actual changes in regional water consumption and associated energy, and explores the lessons learned from the two regions. In 2002, Perth had a similar per capita water consumption rate to SEQ and 48% higher per capita energy use in the water supply system. From 2002 to 2014, a strong effort of water conservation can be seen in SEQ during the drought, while Perth has been increasingly relying on seawater desalination. By 2014, even though the drought in SEQ had ended and the drying climate in Perth was continuing, the per capita water consumption in SEQ (266 L/p/d) was still 28% lower than that of Perth (368 L/p/d), while the per capita energy use in Perth (247 kWh/p/yr) had increased to almost five times that of SEQ (53 kWh/p/yr). This comparative study shows that within one decade, major changes in water and associated energy use occurred in regions that were similar historically. The very different "water-energy" trajectories in the two regions arose partly due to the type of water management options implemented, particularly the different emphasis on supply versus demand side management. This study also highlights the significant energy saving benefit of water conservation strategies (i.e. in SEQ, the energy saving was sufficient to offset the total energy use for seawater desalination and water recycling during the period.). The water-energy trajectory diagram provides a new way to illustrate and compare longitudinal water consumption and associated energy use within and between cities.

Conservação de Recursos Energéticos/métodos , Purificação da Água/métodos , Abastecimento de Água , Cidades , Clima , Conservação de Recursos Energéticos/economia , Conservação dos Recursos Naturais , Custos e Análise de Custo , Secas , Estudos Longitudinais , Queensland , Reciclagem , Água do Mar