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SEDIF, the world’s first carbon-neutral water service

Since 2011, Veolia Eau d’Île-de-France has been managing the drinking water service for the inner Paris suburbs on behalf of the Syndicat des Eaux d’Île-de-France (SEDIF), the largest water service and in France one of the largest in the world.

Issue at stake 
Major cities increasingly have to face up to the issue of climate change. The Paris region is no exception and Syndicat des Eaux d’Île-de-France (SEDIF) has tasked Veolia Water Île-de-France with reducing its carbon footprint.

SEDIF has set itself the target of becoming carbon neutral through a strategy focused on three areas: energy savings, renewable energy, and reforestation.

Veolia solution 
The delegated public service utility contract with Veolia Water Île-de-France, in force since 2011, ushered in a range of actions designed to cut SEDIF’s carbon footprint while guaranteeing good quality water to all its member municipalities.

Each day, the Syndicat des eaux d’Île-de-France (SEDIF) produces 800,000 m3 of drinking water for around 4.6 million users across 151 communes, under a public service delegation contract awarded to Veolia in 2011. Under its oversight, Veolia Eau d’Île-de-France is responsible for all aspects of the operational production and distribution of water, as well as for customer relations 

Veolia Water Île-de-France’s zero-carbon strategy aligns with SEDIF’s climate, water and energy policy to focus on three areas: energy savings, use of green energy, and reforestation to offset unavoidable emissions. 

The Plan provides a formal framework for sustainable development actions to reduce the water service impact on the climate and to boost its resilience. As part of this process, SEDIF contributes to the discussions organized by the club for the world’s major water services it founded in 2011 at Veolia Water Île-de-France’s suggestion.

Rationalize energy consumption

Veolia Water Île-de-France’s contractual obligations very much focus on greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, as set out in the Paris Climate Agreement.

We originally set ourselves an energy-saving target of 5.5% over 11 years, which we have already exceeded, says Nathalie Duchevet, Director of Veolia Water Île-de-France.

The efficiency of the 8,700 km network of pipes exceeds 90%, compared with the national average of 80%. Moreover, its improvement has cut energy consumption for pumping river water to the treatment plants and to consumers. 
"The less water we lose, the more energy we save," sums up Nathalie Duchevet.

The 8,700 km of pipes exceed 90% efficiency

ServO: A centralized tool for managing the water service

Veolia Eau d'Île-de-France created ServO – a centralized tool for managing the entire water service – to optimize operations and energy consumption, from the river to the consumer’s tap.

Every day, ServO analyzes the millions of data from the treatment plants, network and meters collected by thousands of sensors installed right across the network: buoys on the Marne, Oise and Seine rivers provide warnings about the state of the resource; Rés’Echo sensors detect leaks; and the Qualio sensors measure water quality and provide traceability.

"Every day, ServO analyzes millions of data from the treatment plants, network and meters."


 ServO lets us leverage all of Veolia Water Île-de-France’s expertise and know-how to provide daily recommendations in real time: source better quality water from one river or the other, for example, means less treatment; locate leaks precisely; or identify the incremental deterioration in equipment at a treatment plant that will need to be replaced, explains Nathalie Duchevet.

The amount of electricity used by ServO is included in overall energy audit calculations and the buildings housing its servers are insulated from solar radiation, external air is used for free cooling. Nathalie Duchevet adds, “The calories generated by the servers is used to heat greenhouses.”

Reforestation to offset carbon emissions

As well as energy savings, the contract between Veolia Water Île-de-France and SEDIF also calls for reforestation campaigns and the use of green energy sources. This combination of actions to cut energy use and the switch to 100% renewable energy saves the equivalent of 11,000 metric tons of C02 emissions every year.

Financial support for reforestation programs in countries such as Mexico, Colombia and Senegal is used to offset the 45,000 metric tons of CO2 the water service initially produced.

Around 30,000 metric tons of CO2 is offset annually through reforestation programs.

Additional sustainable development actions are in place to help meet the targeted 33% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2024. For instance, 30% of the light-vehicle fleet has been converted to run on clean fuels, and a low-carbon footprint is a criterion used when selecting products and materials. Finally, for the past two years, Veolia Water Île-de-France has run a campaign among its employees to help identify where further percentage savings can be made.