Greenhouse gases exist naturally in the earth's atmosphere. They trap in radiation emitted from the earth's surface, which causes a positive warming effect on the earth.
However, when the concentrations of these gases become too high they may contribute to climate change.
It is widely accepted that the speed of human industrialisation since the 1850s has caused a discernible increase in the production of greenhouse gas emissions, also known as carbon emissions, notably carbon dioxide and methane, which has been linked to climate variability.
In September 2009, Barwon Water launched the Greenhouse Strategy, setting ourselves an 'aspirational' target to achieve zero net carbon emissions by 2018. This goal is applicable to direct emissions (referred to as 'Scope 1' emissions) and electricity related emissions ('Scope 2').
Delivering water, wastewater and recycled water services to more than 285,000 permanent residents requires a significant amount of energy. Producing this energy generates a large amount of carbon dioxide. Treating wastewater also generates emissions of methane and nitrous oxide.
In 2009, we began reporting on our carbon footprint under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act (NGER) 2007. Estimated emissions are calculated using actual data for our 12 facilities.
Barwon Water's Greenhouse Strategy identifies a range of actions to reduce the organisation's greenhouse emissions, based on the EPA's Carbon Management Principles