Environmental Impacts Assessment of Water Demand Management Policies on Urban Water Systems Using Life Cycle Approach

Document Type : Research Article


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

2 Professor, 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, Tehran, Iran.


Although increasing the population and urbanization worldwide have led decision-makers to consider urban water management policies more often, any policies, in turn, can positively and negatively affect urban water systems. In recent years, in response to intensifying water crisis across Isfahan province, pressure management has been applied in order to reduce water access as a new water demand management strategy in most cities of this province. The present study investigated the environmental effects of such a policy in Baharestan city (Isfahan province) during the 2018-2036 period, using a life cycle approach and different percentages of available water shortages. By considering the conditions of the study area, the life cycle assessment was conducted to explore the environmental impacts of processes such as network failure and energy consumption at the pumping station through SimaPro software. The results revealed that a significant part of the environmental effects in the water supply and distribution network were related to network failures, which, in comparison with energy consumption, have many effects on most midpoint and endpoint environmental effects. Based on the result, the endpoint environmental effects caused by network failures are, on average, 2.2 times greater than pumping systems. The finding suggested that by applying pressure management, the endpoint environmental effects in both short-term and long-term scenarios were reduced by 14.7% and 20.2%, respectively. Hence, it can be deduced that the pressure management policy can be an effective policy instrument in minimizing the environmental impacts of the water distribution network and pumping system.


Main Subjects

[1] S.A. Shahangian, M. Tabesh, M. Yazdanpanah, T. Zobeidi, M.A. Raoof, Promoting the adoption of residential water conservation behaviors as a preventive policy to sustainable urban water management, Journal of Environmental Management, 313 (2022) 115005.
[2] S.A. Shahangian, M. Tabesh, M. Yazdanpanah, Psychosocial determinants of household adoption of water-efficiency behaviors in Tehran capital, Iran: Application of the social cognitive theory, Urban Climate, 39 (2021) 100935.
[3] S.K. Sharma, K. Vairavamoorthy, Urban water demand management: prospects and challenges for the developing countries, Water and Environment Journal, 23(3) (2009) 210-218.
[4] D. SauriÍ, Lights and Shadows of Urban Water Demand Management: The Case of the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona, European Planning Studies, 11(3) (2003) 229-243.
[5] H. Safarpour, M. Tabesh, S.A. Shahangian, Social Impacts Assessment of Water Demand Management Policies on Wastewater System by Using SLCA Method, Amirkabir Journal of Civil Engineering, 53(12) (2022) 9-9.
[6] M. Stavenhagen, J. Buurman, C. Tortajada, Saving water in cities: Assessing policies for residential water demand management in four cities in Europe, Cities, 79 (2018) 187-195.
[7] C.L. Cheng, Study of the inter-relationship between water use and energy conservation for a building, Energy and Buildings, 34(3) (2002) 261-266.
[8] S.A. Shahangian, M. Tabesh, H. Safarpour, A Review of the Conceptual Framework of the Interactive Cycle and Modeling Process Used in Urban Water Management, Iran-Water Resources Research, 16(3)(2020) 63-79.
[9] S.A. Shahangian, M. Tabesh, M. Yazdanpanah, How can socio-psychological factors be related to water-efficiency intention and behaviors among Iranian residential water consumers?, Journal of Environmental Management, 288 (2021) 112466.
[10] H. Safarpour, M. Tabesh, S.A. Shahangian, Environmental Assessment of a Wastewater System under Water demand management policies, Water Resources Management, 36(6) (2022) 2061-2077.
[11] S.A. Shahangian, M. Tabesh, H. Safarpour, M. Khashei, M. Abbasi, Presentation of the Integrated and Comprehensive Framework in Assessment of Water Demand Management Policies, Journal of Water and Wastewater Science and Engineering, 5(4) (2020) 16-23.
[12] S. Shahangian, Tabesh, M., Mirabi, M, Numerical investigation of leakage from steel pipes submerged in water based on the experimental results of non-submerged pipes, Journal of Hydraulics, 11(4) (2017) 29-44.
[13] A. Marunga, Z. Hoko, E. Kaseke, Pressure management as a leakage reduction and water demand management tool: The case of the City of Mutare, Zimbabwe, Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C, 31(15) (2006) 763-770.
[14] P.J. Skipworth, A. Cashman, A. Saul, Whole life costing for water distribution network management, Thomas Telford, Thomas Telford, 2002.
[15] R. Pilcher, S. Hamilton, H. Chapman, D. Field, B. Ristovski, S. Stapely, Leak Location and Repair:Guidance Notes, International Water Association, Specialist Group on Efficient Operation and Management of Urban Water Distribution Systems, Water Loss Task Force, 2007.
[16] E. Gómez, R. Del Teso, E. Cabrera, E. Cabrera, J. Soriano, Labeling Water Transport Efficiencies, Water, 10(7) (2018) 935.
[17] J. Liu, G. Yu, D. Savic, Deficient-Network Simulation Considering Pressure-Dependent Demand, Sustainable Solutions for Water, Sewer, Gas, and Oil Pipelines, Beijing, China, (2011) 886-900.
[18] A. Pathirana, EPANET2 desktop application for pressure driven demand modeling. In Water Distribution Systems Analysis, Tucson, Arizona, 2011.
[19] A. Lambert, M. Fantozzi, Recent developments in pressure management, in:  International Water Association Conference Water Loss 2010, Sao Paolo, Brazil, 2010.
[20] K. James, Godlove, C.E. and Campbel, S.L, Watergy: Taking Advantage of Untapped Energy and Water Efficiency Opportunities in Municipal Water Systems, Washington, DC, 2002.
[21] R.a.S. Goldstein, W. Smith, U.S. Electricity Consumption for Water Supply & Treatment—The Next Half Century, Electric Power Research Institute, Water & Sustainability, 2002.
[22] J.R. Stokes, A. Horvath, Energy and Air Emission Effects of Water Supply, Environmental Science &Technology, 43(8) (2009) 2680-2687.
[23] Q. Xu, Q. Chen, W. Li, J. Ma, Pipe break prediction based on evolutionary data-driven methods with brief recorded data, Reliability Engineering & System Safety, 96(8) (2011) 942-948.
[24] J. Stokes, A. Horvath, Life Cycle Energy Assessment of Alternative Water Supply Systems (9 pp), The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 11(5) (2006) 335-343.
[25] T.P. Hendrickson, A. Horvath, A perspective on cost-effectiveness of greenhouse gas reduction solutions in water distribution systems, Environmental Research Letters, 9(2) (2014) 024017.
[26] International Standard, ISO 14044: Environmental Management - Life Cycle Assessment - Life Cycle Impact Interpretation, International Standard Organization Geneva, Switzerland, 2006.
[27] W. Mo, Q. Zhang, J.R. Mihelcic, D.R. Hokanson, Embodied energy comparison of surface water and groundwater supply options, Water Research, 45(17) (2011) 5577-5586.
[28] A. Murray, A. Horvath, K.L. Nelson, Hybrid Life-Cycle Environmental and Cost Inventory of Sewage Sludge Treatment and End-Use Scenarios: A Case Study from China, Environmental Science & Technology, 42(9) (2008) 3163-3169.
[29] R. Renzoni, A. Germain, Life Cycle Assessment of Water: From the pumping station to the wastewater treatment plant (9 pp), The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 12(2) (2007) 118-126.
[30] E. Friedrich, Life-cycle assessment as an environmental management tool in the production of potable water, Water Science and Technology, 46(9) (2002) 29-36.
[31] R.K. Herz, A. Lipkow, Life cycle assessment of water mains and sewers, Water Supply, 2(4) (2002) 51-72.
[32] Y.R. Filion, H.L. MacLean, B.W. Karney, Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of a Water Distribution System, Journal of Infrastructure Systems, 10(3) (2004) 120-130.
[33] K.R. Piratla, S.T. Ariaratnam, A. Cohen, Estimation of CO2 Emissions from the Life Cycle of a Potable Water Pipeline Project, Journal of Management in Engineering, 28(1) (2012) 22-30.
[34] N.T. Hancock, N.D. Black, T.Y. Cath, A comparative life cycle assessment of hybrid osmotic dilution desalination and established seawater desalination and wastewater reclamation processes, Water Research, 46(4) (2012) 1145-1154.
[35] S. Angrill, R. Farreny, C.M. Gasol, X. Gabarrell, B. Viñolas, A. Josa, J. Rieradevall, Environmental analysis of rainwater harvesting infrastructures in diffuse and compact urban models of Mediterranean climate, The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 17(1) (2012) 25-42.
[36] T.K. Das, Evaluating the life cycle environmental performance of chlorine disinfection and ultraviolet technologies, Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy, 4(1) (2002) 32-43.
[37] S. Lundie, G.M. Peters, P.C. Beavis, Life Cycle Assessment for Sustainable Metropolitan Water Systems Planning, Environmental Science & Technology, 38(13) (2004) 3465-3473.
[38] R.G. Raluy, L. Serra, J. Uche, Life cycle assessment of desalination technologies integrated with renewable energies, Desalination, 183(1) (2005) 81-93.
[39] E. Lyons, P. Zhang, T. Benn, F. Sharif, K. Li, J. Crittenden, M. Costanza, Y.S. Chen, Life cycle assessment of three water supply systems: importation, reclamation and desalination, Water Supply, 9(4) (2009) 439-448.
[40] R.G. Raluy, L. Serra, J. Uche, Life Cycle Assessment of Water Production Technologies - Part 1: Life Cycle Assessment of Different Commercial Desalination Technologies (MSF, MED, RO) (9 pp), The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 10(4) (2005) 285-293.
[41] S. Pishyar, H. Khosravi, A. Tavili, A. Malekian, Desertification Risk Mapping based on Water Resources Degradation using Multi Criteria Decision Making, Case Study: Kashan, Journal of Water and Soil Science, 21 (2018).
[42] A. Gohari, S. Eslamian, A. Mirchi, J. Abedi-Koupaei, A. Massah Bavani, K. Madani, Water transfer as a solution to water shortage: A fix that can Backfire, Journal of Hydrology, 491 (2013) 23-39.
[43] S. Ratnasiri, C. Wilson, W. Athukorala, M.A. Garcia-Valiñas, B. Torgler, R. Gifford, Effectiveness of two pricing structures on urban water use and conservation: a quasi-experimental investigation, Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, 20(3) (2018) 547-560.
[44] L. Corominas, D.M. Byrne, J.S. Guest, A. Hospido, P. Roux, A. Shaw, M.D. Short, The application of life cycle assessment (LCA) to wastewater treatment: A best practice guide and critical review, Water Research, 184 (2020) 116058.
[45] A. Gallego-Schmid, R.R.Z. Tarpani, Life cycle assessment of wastewater treatment in developing countries: A review, Water Research, 153 (2019) 63-79.
[46] SimaPro, SimaPro manual for methods, in, February of 2020, https://simapro.com/.