December 6, 2023

As climate leaders converge for the United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) in Dubai, the urgency for immediate, deep emissions reductions across all sectors, including water and wastewater utilities, is clear. Now more than ever, water utilities must rise to the occasion and accelerate efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In recognition of this urgency, the US Water Alliance is proud to announce its selection by The Water Research Foundation (WRF) to spearhead a groundbreaking project to help water utilities measure their climate impact and communicate progress toward achieving net-zero targets.

Addressing the climate crisis requires urgent collective action to hasten the transition to net zero. While the water sector must take action to address its emissions, it also can play a pivotal role in helping reach ambitious and effective climate goals set by communities through One Water management approaches such as nature-based solutions, energy recovery, and resource circularity. With the needed global increase in climate action, it is imperative to enable water sector GHG tracking through comprehensive and accessible tools.

“Water utilities are not only impacted by our growing climate crisis; they can play a major role in helping solve the climate crisis and ensure all communities can thrive,” says US Water Alliance CEO, Mami Hara. “This project is a vital step that will allow water utilities to do their part in reducing emissions to achieve a net-zero future.”

To develop consensus-based methodologies and open-source tools for GHG accounting in the water sector, the Alliance has assembled an exceptional team of utility practitioners, technical experts, and academic researchers who will help guide and contribute to the project. The team—which includes Princeton University, Brown and Caldwell, CDM Smith, Cobalt Water Global, GHD, Jacobs, Northern Tilth, and Stantec—will develop user-friendly industry-wide guidance and an open-access tool for calculating GHG emissions by gathering feedback from utility partners to ensure its broad applicability.

“Understanding current greenhouse gas emission sources is a vital step for water and wastewater utilities working to mitigate climate change impacts,” says Dr. Peter Grevatt, CEO of The Water Research Foundation. “We are excited to work with the US Water Alliance’s strong cross-sector team to develop international, industry-wide consensus around GHG accounting and methodologies.”

Stay up to date on project progress by visiting the 5188 project webpage. If you have any questions about this research, please contact David Ponder at