In integrated urban water systems, energy consumption, and consequently the amount of produced CO2
, depends on many environmental, infrastructural, and management factors such as supply water quality, on which treatment complexity depends, urban area orography, water systems efficiency, and maintenance levels. An important factor is related to the presence of significant water losses, which result in an increase in the supply volume and therefore a higher energy consumption for treatment and pumping, without effectively supplying users. The current European environmental strategy is committed to sustainable development by generating action plans to improve the environmental performance of products and services. The analysis of carbon footprints is considered one such improvement, allowing for the evaluation of the environmental impact of single production phases. Using this framework, the aim of the study is to apply a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology to quantify the carbon footprint of an overall integrated urban water system referring to ISO/TS 14067 (2013). This methodology uses an approach known as “cradle to grave” and presumes to conduct an objective assessment of product units, balancing energy, and matter flows along the production process. The methodology was applied to a real case study, i.e., the integrated urban water system of the Palermo metropolitan area in Sicily (Italy). Each process in the system was characterized and globally evaluated from the point of view of water loss, energy consumption, and CO2
production, and some mitigation strategies are proposed and evaluated to reduce the energy consumption and, consequently, the environmental impact of the system.
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