We’re adapting our operations to prepare for a changing climate, reducing our own impacts through lowering our greenhouse emissions and generating more renewable energy.
Building climate resilience
While we’ve always contended with variable and extreme weather, we need to prepare for the challenges of a changing and increasingly variable climate. Our actions across affected areas include:
- water supply – adapting to less rainfall by harnessing alternative water sources like desalination, stormwater and recycled water, and conducting controlled burns to protect water supply catchments from bushfires
- sewerage system – monitoring and upgrading our system to reduce the risk of spills during extreme storms, and researching solutions to sewer corrosion and odour caused by more concentrated sewage
- drainage system – upgrading drainage in high risk areas to cope with floods, and reviewing guidelines for development in flood-prone areas
- river health – researching catchments at risk from low river flows and species most affected by temperature increases.
Understanding the impacts of climate change
Research and technology underpins all risk assessment, planning and action around climate change.
Back in 2005, we carried out a major climate change study with CSIRO – one of the first in the world to examine how climate change could impact water, sewerage and drainage systems.
The study identified several key challenges including:
- long-term water supply shortages
- urban flooding
- overflows from the sewerage system.
View this landmark climate change study:
Current research and innovation
We are committed to building on this knowledge, increasing our understanding of climate change and exploring the challenges and opportunities it poses. As such, we collaborate on projects with a number of research partners, including studies in:
- water resources
- public health
- renewable energy and energy efficiency
- sewage odour control
- recycled water
- natural climate variability and historical climate data.
Minimising our impact on climate change
We’re determined to protect the environment by cutting our carbon footprint. We directly emit about 180,000 carbon equivalent tonnes of greenhouse gases each year – nearly all of which comes from our sewage treatment processes. We also indirectly emit gases from the electricity we use.
Since the year 2000, we have nearly halved our emissions
This has been achieved mostly through:
- changing our sewage treatment processes
- producing and using our own renewable energy
- purchasing carbon offsets for emissions from our office energy use, vehicle fuel and air travel.
Further reducing our emissions
Next steps involve:
- investigating how emissions are released from our treatment processes, and using this knowledge to fine-tune them
- improving the energy efficiency of our infrastructure and offices
- generating renewable energy from our operations.
We participate in the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting System, which monitors corporate greenhouse gas emissions, energy production and energy consumption.