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Australian utilities leading the way in the Race To Zero

14 Australian and New Zealand water utilities have joined the United Nations (UN) led 'Race To Zero' campaign, joining their counterparts from the UK in pledging to reach Net Zero Emissions by 2050 or earlier, with interim targets within the next decade. Combined, these 26 utilities in total serve over 72 million people in the three countries. 

Race To Zero is a UN backed global campaign rallying non-state actors, including companies, cities, regions, financial and educational institutions, to take rigorous and immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030 and deliver a healthier, fairer zero-carbon world.     

To elevate the role of water in the climate crisis and the need for water to be at the centre of climate solutions for mitigation and adaptation, the Conference of the Parties 26 (COP26) in Glasgow includes a Water and Climate Pavilion for the first time.     

Globally, water use, storage and distribution are responsible for around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Water services also produce about 5-8% of global methane emissions.  

The 14 utilities, all AWA members, are Barwon Water, Coliban Water, Gippsland Water, Goulburn Valley Water, Icon Water, Melbourne Water, SA Water, South East Water, Southern Rural Water, Sydney Water, Unitywater, Urban Utilities, Watercare and Yarra Valley Water.    

“Now is the time to commit to effecting positive change and prove ourselves as responsible and conscientious members of the global community,” said Urban Utilities CEO and Australian Water Association President Louise Dudley.    

“The impact of our business on people and the planet matters.”    

The announcement was welcomed across the industry, including the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA), which partnered with Water UK in this campaign.    

‘Congratulations to all the Australian and New Zealand water utilities for this show of commitment and leadership on mitigating the impacts of climate change, felt so acutely in the water sector, said Mr Adam Lovell, Executive Director of WSAA.     

“Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and we’re proud to be leading the way in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions with ambitious targets.”