Water-Energy-Carbon Nexus: Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Integrated Urban Drainage Systems in China. Academic Article uri icon


  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from integrated urban drainage systems (IUDSs), including sewer, wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), and receiving water systems, have not yet been integrated due to the lack of modeling tools. Here, we updated the computable general equilibrium-based System Dynamics and Water Environmental Model (CGE-SyDWEM), a recently developed model simulating the water-energy-carbon nexus at the watershed level, to calculate the direct and indirect (electricity use and external) GHG emissions from IUDSs considering carbon mitigation strategies and water engineering practices. The updated CGE-SyDWEM was applied to an estuary watershed in Shenzhen, the fourth largest city in China. With increasing socio-economic development and water infrastructure systems upgrading, GHG emissions are projected to increase from 129.2 (95% CI: 95.9-162.5) kt in 2007 to 190.7 (144.8-236.6) kt in 2025, with 89% from WWTPs (direct: 17%; electricity use: 65%; and external: 7%), 10% from the sewer (direct: 1% and electricity use: 9%) and 1% from receiving waters (direct). Carbon mitigation can reduce GHG emissions by 7% and emission intensity by 6% by 2025, with 63% contributed by external emission reduction from chemical uses. The integrated model can aid water, energy, and carbon decision-makers in finding cost-effective solutions for water and energy security in the future.

published proceedings

  • Environ Sci Technol

author list (cited authors)

  • Su, Q., Dai, H., Xie, S., Yu, X., Lin, Y., Singh, V. P., & Karthikeyan, R.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Su, Qiong||Dai, Hancheng||Xie, Shuyan||Yu, Xiangying||Lin, Yun||Singh, Vijay P||Karthikeyan, Raghupathy

publication date

  • February 2023