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Carbon Emissions: Water

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the level of carbon dioxide emissions from (a) industrial, (b) commercial and (c) agricultural uses of water; what steps he is taking to reduce levels of carbon dioxide emissions from heavily intensive water usage in each sector; and if he will make a statement. (251692)

A carbon footprint for the UK water industry was published for the first time in 2008 in “Future Water”, the Government’s water strategy for England. The industry emits around five million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year, as carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). There are no separate figures for different end-uses, however, the non-domestic sector that includes the industrial, commercial and agricultural sectors is estimated to use 23 per cent. of the public water supply. The industrial sector also uses significant quantities of direct abstractions but it is difficult to estimate the associated carbon emissions due to variability in the extent of treatment and in pumping distances.

The Carbon Reduction Commitment will bring about reductions in carbon emissions from across the economy, including from the water industry. In addition, we have received a commitment from Water UK that the water companies will seek to ensure that at least 20 per cent. of all energy used by the UK water industry comes from renewable sources by 2020.