The water impacts of climate change mitigation measures

Wallis, Philip J., Ward, Michael B., Pittock, Jamie, Hussey, Karen, Bamsey, Howard, Denis, Amandine, Kenway, Steven J., King, Carey W., Mushtaq, Shahbaz, Retamal, Monique L. and Spies, Brian R. (2014) The water impacts of climate change mitigation measures. Climatic Change, 125 2: 209-220. doi:10.1007/s10584-014-1156-6

Author Wallis, Philip J.
Ward, Michael B.
Pittock, Jamie
Hussey, Karen
Bamsey, Howard
Denis, Amandine
Kenway, Steven J.
King, Carey W.
Mushtaq, Shahbaz
Retamal, Monique L.
Spies, Brian R.
Title The water impacts of climate change mitigation measures
Journal name Climatic Change   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0165-0009
Publication date 2014-07
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10584-014-1156-6
Open Access Status
Volume 125
Issue 2
Start page 209
End page 220
Total pages 12
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
A variety of proposed activities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions will impact on scarce water resources, which are coming under increasing pressure in many countries due to population growth and shifting weather patterns. However, the integrated analysis of water and carbon impacts has been given limited attention in greenhouse mitigation planning. In this Australian case study, we analyse a suite of 74 mitigation measures ranked as highest priority by one influential analysis, and we find that they have highly variable consequences for water quantity. We find: (1) The largest impacts result from land-based sequestration, which has the potential to intercept large quantities of water and reduce catchment yields, estimated to exceed 100 Mm3/MtCO2-e of carbon mitigated (100,000 l per tonne CO2-e). (2) Moderate impacts result from some renewable power options, including solar thermal power with a water cost estimated at nearly 4 Mm3/MtCO2-e. However, the water impacts of solar thermal power facilities could be reduced by designing them to use existing power-related water supplies or to use air or salt-water cooling. (3) Wind power, biogas, solar photovoltaics, energy efficiency and operational improvements to existing power sources can reduce water demand through offsetting the water used to cool thermal power generation, with minor savings estimated at 2 Mm3/MtCO2-e and amounting to nearly 100 Mm3 of water saved in Australia per annum in 2020. This integrated analysis significantly changes the attractiveness of some mitigation options, compared to the case where water impacts are not considered.
Keyword Atmospheric cciences
Climate change
Climate change impacts
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Chemical Engineering Publications
Official 2015 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 5 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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