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Emergy Approach For The Environmental Sustainability Assessment Of The Urban Water System Of Genoa (NW Italy)


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P. Vassallo, C. Paoli, N. Bazzurro, C. Masciulli & M. Fabiano


Water has been defined as the oil of the twenty-first century; this is the reason why improving water managing techniques and making them sustainable is the way through which economic growth should be attained. The purpose of this study is to provide a valid scientific instrument to administrations in order to hit this mark. The emergy concept was used to evaluate the sustainability of the water cycle managed by the AMGA group in an area (the province of Genoa, Italy), consisting of 1513 Km2 and 52 municipalities (also comprehending the city of Genoa). Emergy is defined as the available energy of one kind previously used up directly or indirectly to create a product or an energy flow. Analysis has concerned the study of process phases and the calculation of a number of emergetic indices. Some of the emergetic indices calculated for the Genoese system were compared with those obtained by a similar study previously performed on another process of water management (Bologna, Italy). The emergy evaluation shows a good efficiency of the system, a great ability at exploiting natural resources and a low dependence from external sources. Further improvements in the level of sustainability of the process could be foreseen by the reduction of the leaks of water during management, by the improvement of the pipeline design and by the employment of more durable materials and if possible characterized by lower values of transformity. Keywords: water cycle, emergy, environmental sustainability, thermodynamic approach, water management.


water cycle, emergy, environmental sustainability, thermodynamic approach, water management.