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Life cycle assessment of forecasting scenarios for urban water management: A first implementation of the WaLA model on Paris suburban area

Loubet, Philippe, Roux, Philippe, Guérin-Schneider, Laetitia, Bellon-Maurel, Véronique
Water research 2016 v.90 pp. 128-140
basins, case studies, climate change, computer software, construction materials, decision making, drinking water, electricity, infrastructure, issues and policy, life cycle impact assessment, life cycle inventory, models, stakeholders, suburban areas, wastewater treatment, water deprivation, water management, water quantity, water shortages, France
A framework and an associated modeling tool to perform life cycle assessment (LCA) of urban water system, namely the WaLA model, has been recently developed. In this paper, the WaLA model is applied to a real case study: the urban water system of the Paris suburban area, in France. It aims to verify the capacity of the model to provide environmental insights to stakeholder's issues related to future trends influencing the system (e.g., evolution of water demand, increasing water scarcity) or policy responses (e.g., choices of water resources and technologies). This is achieved by evaluating a baseline scenario for 2012 and several forecasting scenarios for 2022 and 2050. The scenarios are designed through the modeling tool WaLA, which is implemented in Simulink/Matlab: it combines components representing the different technologies, users and resources of the UWS. The life cycle inventories of the technologies and users components include water quantity and quality changes, specific operation (electricity, chemicals) and infrastructures data (construction materials). The methods selected for the LCIA are midpoint ILCD, midpoint water deprivation impacts at the sub-river basin scale, and endpoint Impact 2002+. The results of the baseline scenario show that wastewater treatment plants have the highest impacts compared to drinking water production and distribution, as traditionally encountered in LCA of UWS. The results of the forecasting scenarios show important changes in water deprivation impacts due to water management choices or effects of climate change. They also enable to identify tradeoffs with other impact categories and to compare several scenarios. It suggests the capacity of the model to deliver information for decision making about future policies.