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Improving the Sustainability of Water Infrastructures towards a Net-Zero Status

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Water Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2023) | Viewed by 12915

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds LS2 9JT, West Yorkshire, UK
Interests: sustainability; hydropower; urban infrastructures

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Guest Editor
Department of Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de València, 46022 Valencia, Spain
Interests: renewable energies; clean energies; sustainability; hydropower systems; zero-energy buildings; simulated modelling; optimization procedure; sustainable development
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Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Georesources (DECivil) and CERIS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, 1649-004 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: environmental engineering; hydraulic engineering; energy efficiency
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar, Cartagena 131001, Colombia
Interests: waterworks; hydrological studies; pipelines and sewers
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Climate change issues have highlighted the need for new approaches in most sectors by considering environmental sustainability, economic development, and energy systems, favoring solutions which not only maximize the short-term benefits of infrastructure investments but also accelerate the transition towards net-zero technologies. Sustainability in infrastructures is the act of creating a reliable infrastructure that can be managed and maintained in accordance with users’ needs and without harmful environmental impacts. Humanity is at a very delicate historical point, where moving in the right direction will guarantee a sustainable planet for future generations. Water infrastructures are unsustainable in their current forms due to notable energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions involved in different processes. For instance, in the UK, the water industry is responsible for 5M tonnes of CO2 emissions annually and consumed 7.9 TWh of energy in 2006–7. Previous studies have discussed improving the sustainability of water supply through reducing the overall water demand and consequently energy consumption (e.g., reuse of grey water, water leakage mitigation, rainwater harvesting, water metering, and hybrid water supply systems). Nevertheless, a great necessity exists for new methods and technologies to help in retrofitting water infrastructures by solving current sustainability issues. In this context, higher investigations are required in three categories: water and energy efficiency, asset management, and alternative technologies.

This Special Issue focuses on infrastructures in the water sector because:

  • The water sector is one of the most energy-intensive sectors, consume 2–3% of global energy. The energy intensity of the water sector is growing, making it a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Consequently, up to 80% of the cost of water is associated with the energy required to extract, treat, and distribute it.
  • A wide range of capital assets such as pumps, turbines, pipes, and reservoirs usually exist in a water infrastructure, and should be maintained properly to minimize the cost of the repair or replacement while delivering the desired service level.
  • Although the usage of renewable energy in the water sector has already been started, progress has been very limited so far and the contribution of energy recovery from the water sector in renewable energies is even less significant.
  • Climate change is producing increasing or decreasing trends of rainfall and streamflow patterns in several places around the world; hence, water infrastructures need to be planned considering novel hydraulic proposals that consider future variations of meteorological processes.

In this context, this Special Issue is seeking scientific contributions that can introduce new methods and technologies to achieve more sustainable water infrastructures with less carbon emission consequences. We are looking for solutions at different levels, such as management strategies or new alternative and novel technologies.

Dr. Mohsen Besharat
Dr. Modesto Pérez-Sánchez
Dr. Mariana Simão
Dr. Óscar E. Coronando-Hernández
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • water infrastructures
  • sustainability
  • net-zero
  • system efficiency
  • management

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

21 pages, 789 KiB  
Article
Contribution of Air Management to the Energy Efficiency of Water Pipelines
by Elias Tasca, Mohsen Besharat, Helena M. Ramos, Edevar Luvizotto, Jr. and Bryan Karney
Sustainability 2023, 15(5), 3875; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15053875 - 21 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1770
Abstract
Water conveyance systems are notorious for incurring considerable energy expenditures, either as losses of gravitational potential energy or as increased electricity consumption. Entrapped air pockets, originating from ineffective or nonexistent air management schemes, are common and often significant contributors to these energy costs. [...] Read more.
Water conveyance systems are notorious for incurring considerable energy expenditures, either as losses of gravitational potential energy or as increased electricity consumption. Entrapped air pockets, originating from ineffective or nonexistent air management schemes, are common and often significant contributors to these energy costs. This work summarizes the detrimental influence of entrapped air on the energetics and conveyance capacity of pressurized pipelines and identifies those conditions that typically result in temporary or persistent air accumulations. Gravity and pumped lines are considered and gravity lines are shown to be more prone to the negative effects of entrapped air. In addition, initially robust air management strategies can gradually degrade if poorly adjusted to evolving circumstances. The paper critically assesses two common air management strategies: through employing air valves or by air removal by hydraulic means—that is, by considering a line’s configuration along with an attempt to predict the necessary flow conditions for the hydraulic removal of entrapped air. Full article
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15 pages, 1742 KiB  
Article
Historical Trends Associated with Annual Temperature and Precipitation in Aegean Turkey, Where Are We Heading?
by Denizhan Mersin, Gokmen Tayfur, Babak Vaheddoost and Mir Jafar Sadegh Safari
Sustainability 2022, 14(20), 13380; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142013380 - 17 Oct 2022
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 1660
Abstract
The trend analysis of annual temperature (daily average) and total precipitation has been conducted for 14 stations located in the Aegean Region, Turkey. The Sen, Spearman’s rho, and Mann-Kendall test methods are used in the detection of the historical trends in the region. [...] Read more.
The trend analysis of annual temperature (daily average) and total precipitation has been conducted for 14 stations located in the Aegean Region, Turkey. The Sen, Spearman’s rho, and Mann-Kendall test methods are used in the detection of the historical trends in the region. The Pettitt test is also implemented to find the significance of the trend, while the Theil-Sen approach is applied to detect the change point(s) in the time series. Findings of the following study indicate that both precipitation and temperature time series in the selected stations depict statistically significant trends with increasing nature. The rate of increase in precipitation and temperature by the Theil-Sen test is found to be 4.2–7.9 mm/year and 0.20–0.35 °C/decade, respectively. It is also found that the turn points of the temperature trends determined by the Pettitt test occurred in 1998 for all the stations. According to the results, the magnitude of the extreme events would change in the future, which may help in conceptualizing the framework and the resilience of the infrastructures against climate change. Full article
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20 pages, 5526 KiB  
Article
System Thinking Approach toward Reclamation of Regional Water Management under Changing Climate Conditions
by Ali Sheikhbabaei, Aida Hosseini Baghanam, Mahdi Zarghami, Sepideh Pouri and Elmira Hassanzadeh
Sustainability 2022, 14(15), 9411; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14159411 - 1 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1704
Abstract
This paper represents a streamflow prediction model with the approach of ensemble multi-GCM downscaling and system dynamics (SD) for the Aji-Chay watershed located in northwest Iran. In this study, firstly, the precipitation and temperature projection for the future was assessed according to the [...] Read more.
This paper represents a streamflow prediction model with the approach of ensemble multi-GCM downscaling and system dynamics (SD) for the Aji-Chay watershed located in northwest Iran. In this study, firstly, the precipitation and temperature projection for the future was assessed according to the climate change impact using a statistical downscaling technique, i.e., Long Ashton Research Station Weather Generator (LARS-WG); secondly, a rainfall-runoff model for future horizons was developed according to artificial neural networks (ANN); finally, an SD model was developed according to plausible reclamation scenarios, i.e., cloud seeding, increasing the irrigation efficiency and reducing agricultural production, controlling policies on groundwater withdrawal as well as environmental awareness, and cultivation to reduce domestic consumption to achieve sustainable development. For downscaling purposes, the outputs of four general circulation models (GCMs) including EC-EARTH, HadGEM2, MIROC5, MPI-ESM from Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) were applied. The results of multi-GCM downscaling indicated an ascending trend of 0.1 °C to +1.3 °C for temperature and a descending trend of 17 to 23% for precipitation by 2040 under representative concentration pathways (RCPs) of 4.5 and 8.5, respectively. Moreover, the results of the SD model revealed that none of the individual reclamation scenarios were impressive on water balance sustainable conditions; instead, the simultaneous implementation of all plausible scenarios managed to meet the requirements of socio-environment aspects as well as sustainability approaches. Full article
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18 pages, 5042 KiB  
Article
Policy-Making toward Integrated Water Resources Management of Zarrine River Basin via System Dynamics Approach under Climate Change Impact
by Aida Hosseini Baghanam, Arshia Jedary Seifi, Ali Sheikhbabaei, Yousef Hassanzadeh, Mohsen Besharat and Esmaeil Asadi
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3376; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063376 - 13 Mar 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2671
Abstract
In terms of having a comprehensive vision toward supplying the water requirements, a multi-criteria decision-making approach was employed on the Zarrine River Basin (ZRB) in the northwest of Iran. First, the climate change impacts were analyzed with the Long Ashton Research Station Weather [...] Read more.
In terms of having a comprehensive vision toward supplying the water requirements, a multi-criteria decision-making approach was employed on the Zarrine River Basin (ZRB) in the northwest of Iran. First, the climate change impacts were analyzed with the Long Ashton Research Station Weather Generator (LARS-WG) downscaling approach by using General Circulation Models (GCMs) including the European Consortium Earth System Model (EC-EARTH), Hadley Centre Global Environment Model version 2 (HADGEM2), Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate, version 5 (MIROC5), and Max Planck Institute Earth System Model (MPI-ESM), from Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP4.5, RCP8.5) scenarios for 2021–2080. Afterward, the downscaled variables were utilized as inputs to the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) model to predict future runoff under the climate change impact. Finally, the system dynamics (SD) model was employed to simulate various scenarios for assessing water balance utilizing the Vensim software. The results of downscaling models suggested that the temperature of the basin will increase by 0.47 and 0.91 °C under RCPs4.5 and 8.5 by 2040, respectively. Additionally, the precipitation will decrease by 3.5 percent under RCP4.5 and 14 percent under RCP8.5, respectively. Moreover, simulation results revealed that the water demand in various sectors will be enormously increased. The contribution of the climate change impact on the future run-off was a seven percent decrease, on average, over the basin. The SD model, according to presented plausible scenarios including decreasing agriculture product and shifting irrigation efficiency, cloud-seeding, population control, and household consumption reduction, reducing meat and animal-husbandry production, and groundwater consumption control, resulted in a water balance equilibrium over five years. However, the performance of individual scenarios was not effective; instead, a combination of several scenarios led to effective performance in managing reduced runoff under climate change. Full article
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13 pages, 7869 KiB  
Article
Urban Flood Risk and Economic Viability Analyses of a Smart Sustainable Drainage System
by Helena M. Ramos and Mohsen Besharat
Sustainability 2021, 13(24), 13889; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413889 - 15 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3158
Abstract
Urban drainage systems are in transition from functioning simply as a transport system to becoming an important element of urban flood protection measures providing considerable influence on urban infrastructure sustainability. Rapid urbanization combined with the implications of climate change is one of the [...] Read more.
Urban drainage systems are in transition from functioning simply as a transport system to becoming an important element of urban flood protection measures providing considerable influence on urban infrastructure sustainability. Rapid urbanization combined with the implications of climate change is one of the major emerging challenges. The increased concerns with water security and the ageing of existing drainage infrastructure are new challenges in improving urban water management. This study carried out in the Seixal area in Portugal examines flood risk analyses and mitigation techniques performed by computational modelling using MIKE SHE from the Danish Hydraulic Institute (DHI). Several scenarios were compared regarding flood risk and sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS) efficiency. To obtain a more accurate analysis, the economic viability of each technique was analyzed as well through (i) life cost analysis and (ii) taking into account the damages caused by a certain type of flood. The results present that the best scenario is the one that will minimize the effects of great urbanization and consequently the flood risk, which combines two different measures: permeable pavement and detention basin. This alternative allows us to fully explore the mitigation capacity of each viable technique, demonstrating a very important improvement in the flood mitigation system in Seixal. Full article
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