Urban water supply and life cycle assessment

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Guaranteeing drinking water access to populations living in urban centres is expected to become a significant challenge. This is due to threats such as climate change, deterioration of freshwater sources, and rapid urbanization. In order to minimize this negative prospect, urban centres should begin to update their water supply infrastructure, improve water distribution practices, or even implement the use of techniques such as desalination, advanced treatments for wastewater reuse, and rainwater harvesting.
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a commonly used tool to evaluate the environmental impacts, enable better decision-making among stakeholders and inform research on the topic. LCAs promote the evaluation of the environmental performance of systems, products, or services throughout their entire life cycle, translating inputs and outputs of resources, materials, energy, emissions, and waste into potential environmental impacts. However, the LCA of urban water supplies should be performed considering specific guidelines and the particularities of the local geography and water-related infrastructure. Finally LCAs should report a detailed interpretation of the results following a consistent framework. In this way, the outcomes from an LCA study can indicate best practices, interventions, or modifications necessary to decrease the environmental burdens associated with urban water supplies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook on Urban Water Governance
EditorsThomas Bolognesi, Francisco Silva Pinto, Megan Farrelly
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781003057574
ISBN (Print)9780367523534, 9780367523541
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


  • sustainable development
  • LCA
  • integrated urban water management
  • drinking water treatment
  • Pollution control


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