WQA Applauds Introduction of Healthy H2O Act

Legislation grew from an association volunteer task force initiative

The US Water Alliance, the Embassy of Denmark in Washington D.C., and the Danish Water and Wastewater Association (DANVA) announced and signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on April 27. The agreement aims to promote cross-cultural learning on climate mitigation strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across water management and operations.

“Partnering with the US Water Alliance and the organization’s inspiring work to further the US water sector’s Race to Zero is a great privilege,” says Henrik Bramsen Hahn, deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of Denmark. “The climate crisis does not recognize borders, and global partnerships are crucial in the effort to mitigate climate change. Denmark is committed to sharing our decades of experience with optimizing water management, and we are eager to bring inspiration from our U.S. partners back home. We look forward to collaborating with both utilities and federal, state, and local governments all over the U.S. Together we can pave the way towards a more sustainable future.”

Globally, water use and management are estimated to be responsible for up to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that energy consumption used for drinking water and wastewater services emits more than 45 million tons of greenhouse gases annually in the United States alone.

Therefore, the new transatlantic partnership aims to strengthen the water sector’s toolbox in order to break the curve. Specifically, the partners will explore opportunities for carbon sequestration, emissions reductions and offsets, energy optimization, and much more to support Net Zero water goals across the US.

All hands on deck

At the signing ceremony, Mami Hara, CEO of the US Water Alliance, joined Mr. Hahn and several water professionals from both sides of the Atlantic for a roundtable discussion. She, too, underlined the importance of international collaboration as a tool to reach Net Zero.

“With less than a decade for meaningful climate action, we need all hands on deck to keep the planet’s warming below 1.5  Degrees C. As water leaders around the world step up to this challenge, we can learn from each other in real-time. We are excited to work closely with our new Danish partners to share best practices, innovate together, and accelerate Net Zero emissions goals,” says Hara.

In 2021, the US Water Alliance founded an Imagination Team, including representatives from over 35 organizations to develop “Net Zero Plus,” a shared vision and transformation to a climate-neutral U.S. water sector by 2050. The effort kicked off with an International Water and Climate Mitigation Symposium to learn from international water pioneers, including Denmark, about ongoing research for greenhouse gas emissions from water and to discover mitigation strategies that might be transferrable to the US.

The MoU signed at the Embassy will further support the alliance’s most recent national effort to implement the Net Zero Plus vision, a 10-city utility greenhouse gas reduction cohort. The partnership will ground the peer-learning cohort in cross-cultural knowledge exchange and collaboration to advance shared goals of a climate secure future and resilient global water sector. By learning from Danish counterparts, utilities in the United States will have access to additional expertise, ideas and strategies being implemented in real-time. The Danish water sector is already well on its way to reaching a climate-positive and energy-neutral water sector by 2030 — targets that support the Danish government’s strategy to reduce GHG emissions 70% by 2030.

Peer-to-peer knowledge exchange

At the front and center of the new collaboration is sharing experience and expertise during peer learning exchanges. Activities will be facilitated through the Danish Water Technology Alliance, anchored at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. Additionally, the agreement will launch a close dialogue on regulatory frameworks for greenhouse gas reductions in water, national benchmarking systems and Paris Agreement models for climate action through water.

“The agreement between the US Water Alliance, the Danish Water Technology Alliance, the Embassy of Denmark, and DANVA is an important step for the water sectors in the two countries to achieve the goal of becoming climate neutral. The degree of success in limiting emissions of greenhouse gas depends on the results we can achieve across national borders. No country, no sector, and no human being can solve the challenge alone. We look forward to collaborating with our colleagues in the U.S.,” says DANVA CEO Carl-Emil Larsen.


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