Social Impacts Assessment of Water Demand Management Policies on Wastewater System by Using SLCA Method

Document Type : Research Article


1 M.Sc. student, School of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 Professor, Center of Excellence for Management and Engineering of Civil Infrastructure School of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

3 Ph.D. Candidate, School of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Tehran


Urban water demand management policies (UWDMPs) are being proposed as a solution to deal with water scarcity. Applying any UWDMPs can lead to positive/ negative impacts on several aspects, including the urban infrastructure (e.g., water distribution networks or wastewater systems). Besides, studies on the effects of these policies on urban infrastructures have often focused on the water sector, and there is scant evidence in the wastewater section. Hence, in the current study, the impacts of the implementation of UWDMPs on sewage systems (consisting of the wastewater collection system and the wastewater treatment plant) from a social viewpoint have been evaluated during different scenarios of demand reduction. For this purpose, the Social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA) method, as a subset of life cycle thinking, has been applied. In this regard, Baharestan city (located in Isfahan province) is selected. The groups (stakeholders) related to wastewater systems that are affected by the social impacts of UWDMPs have been identified and their characteristics have been determined. Stakeholders contain the social and local community, workers, and consumers (stakeholders that use wastewater or its other products for a specific activity). Then, by compiling a questionnaire and using the experts' opinions, the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) method has been used in order to evaluate scenarios. In this procedure, (1) indicators are scored by the survey from experts, (2) the intensity of the effects of indicators in each scenario is specified, and (3) the social score of all scenarios is obtained. The results showed that social and local community had the biggest weight among stakeholders (weight of 0.45), and safe and healthy living condition was the most important indicator for this stakeholder. Moreover, the scenario that had the least decline in water consumption and sewage production was socially better than the others.


Main Subjects

[1] Stavenhagen, M., Buurman, J. & Tortajada, C., 2018. Saving water in cities: Assessing policies for residential water demand management in four cities in Europe. Cities, 79, pp.187-195.
[2] Ramsey, E., Berglund, E. & Goyal, R., 2017. The impact of demographic factors, beliefs, and social influences on residential water consumption and implications for non-price policies in Urban India. Water, 9(11), p.844.
[3] Zhong, L.J. & Mol, A.P., 2008. Participatory environmental governance in China: Public hearings on urban water tariff setting. Journal of Environmental Management, 88(4), pp.899-913.
[4] Liu, J., Savenije, H.H. & Xu, J., 2003. Water as an economic good and water tariff design: Comparison between IBT-con and IRT-cap. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, parts A/B/C, 28(4-5), pp.209-217.
[5] Ratnasiri, S., Wilson, C., Athukorala, W., Garcia-Valiñas, M.A., Torgler, B. & Gifford, R., 2018. Effectiveness of two pricing structures on urban water use and conservation: a quasi-experimental investigation. Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, 20(3), pp.547-560.
[6] Maleki nasab, A., Tabesh, M. & Ghalibaf sarshouri, M., 2010. Field study of the effect of installing low-consumption equipment and valves in reducing domestic water consumption. Iranian Journal of Water Resources Research. 6(2). (in Persian)
[7] Maleki nasab, A. & Ghalibaf sharshouri, M., 2007. Investigating the reduction of domestic water consumption by installing low-consumption equipment and valves. The first conference on water shortage. Tehran. (in Persian)
[8] Marinoski, A.K., Rupp, R.F. & Ghisi, E., 2018. Environmental benefit analysis of strategies for potable water savings in residential buildings. Journal of environmental management, 206, pp.28-39.
[9] Shahangian, S.A., Tabesh, M., Safarpour, H. 2020. A Review of the Conceptual Framework of the Interactive Cycle and Modeling Process Used in Urban Water Management, Journal of Iran-Water Resources Research, In press (In Persian)
[10] Lehmann, A., Zschieschang, E., Traverso, M., Finkbeiner, M. & Schebek, L., 2013. Social aspects for sustainability assessment of technologies—challenges for social life cycle assessment (SLCA). The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 18(8), pp.1581-1592.
[11] Padilla-Rivera, A., Morgan-Sagastume, J.M., Noyola, A. & Güereca, L.P., 2016. Addressing social aspects associated with wastewater treatment facilities. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 57, pp.101-113.
[12] Opher, T., Shapira, A. & Friedler, E., 2018a. A comparative social life cycle assessment of urban domestic water reuse alternatives. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 23(6), pp.1315-1330.
[13] Zhou, Z., Chi, Y., Dong, J., Tang, Y. & Ni, M., 2019. Model development of sustainability assessment from a life cycle perspective: A case study on waste management systems in China. Journal of cleaner production, 210, pp.1005-1014.
[14] UNEPSETAC, 2009,2011. Guidelines for social life cycle assessment of products. UNEP/Earthprint.
[15] International Standard, 2006, ISO 14044: Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Life Cycle Impact Interpretation, International Standard Organization Geneva, Switzerland.
[16] Opher, T., Friedler, E. & Shapira, A., 2018b. Comparative life cycle sustainability assessment of urban water reuse at various centralization scales. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, pp.1-14.
[17] Benoît, C., Parent, J., Kuenzi, I. & Revéret, J.P., 2007, September. Developing a methodology for social life cycle assessment: The North American tomato’s CSR case. In 3rd International Conference on Life Cycle Management, August 27-29, Zürich, Switzerland.
[18] Comprehensive plan of new city of Baharestan. 2014. 1st review. (in Persian)
[19] Parkinson, J., Schütze, M. & Butler, D., 2005. Modelling the Impacts of Domestic Water Conservation on the Sustain Ability of the Urban Sewerage System. Journal of Water and Environment, 19(1), pp.49-56.
[20] Marleni, N., Gray, S., Sharma, A., Burn, S. & Muttil, N., 2015. Impact of water management practice scenarios on wastewater flow and contaminant concentration. Journal of environmental management, 151, pp.461-471.
[21] Sun, J., Hu, S., Sharma, K.R., Bustamante, H. & Yuan, Z., 2015. Impact of reduced water consumption on sulfide and methane production in rising main sewers. Journal of environmental management, 154, pp.307-315.
[22] Tanverakul, S.A. & Lee, J., 2015. Impacts of metering on residential water use in California. Journalā€American Water Works Association, 107(2), pp. E69-E75.
[23] Lopez-Nicolas, A., Pulido-Velazquez, M., Rougé, C., Harou, J.J. & Escriva-Bou, A., 2018. Design and assessment of an efficient and equitable dynamic urban water tariff. Application to the city of Valencia, Spain. Environmental Modelling & Software, 101, pp.137-145.
[24] Chen, C.W., Wang, J.H., Wang, J.C. & Shen, Z.H., 2018. Developing indicators for sustainable campuses in Taiwan using fuzzy Delphi method and analytic hierarchy process. Journal of Cleaner Production, 193, pp.661-671.
[25] Bottero, M., Comino, E. & Riggio, V., 2011. Application of the analytic hierarchy process and the analytic network process for the assessment of different wastewater treatment systems. Environmental Modelling & Software, 26(10), pp.1211-1224.
[26] Kheybari, S., Rezaie, F.M., Naji, S.A. & Najafi, F., 2019. Evaluation of energy production technologies from biomass using analytical hierarchy process: The case of Iran. Journal of Cleaner Production, 232, pp.257-265.
[27] Karimi, A., Mehrdadi, N., Hashemian, S.J., Nabi Bidehendi, Gh. & Tavakkoli Moghaddam, R., 2010. Select the optimal wastewater treatment process using the AHP method. Journal of Water and Wastewater, 2-12, 21(4). (in Persian)
[28] Saaty, T.L., 1977. A scaling method for priorities in hierarchical structures. Journal of mathematical psychology, 15(3), pp.234-281.
[29] Saaty, T.L., 1988. What is the analytic hierarchy process? In Mathematical models for decision support (pp. 109-121). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
[30] Barnard, S., 2012. SCB assossiate Ltd.,
[31] Saaty, T.L., 2008. Decision making with the analytic hierarchy process. International journal of services sciences, 1(1), pp.83-98.
[32] Saaty, T.L. & Vargas, L.G., 2012.  Models, methods, concepts & applications of the analytic hierarchy process. (Vol. 175). Springer Science & Business Media.
[33] Safarpour, H., Tabesh, M. & Shahamgian, S.A., 2020. Assess the effects of demand management policies on the sewer hydraulics. 18th conference of hydraulic of Iran. University of Tehran. (in Persian)