An Analysis of Stocks and Flows Associated with Water Consumption in Indian Households

An Analysis of Stocks and Flows Associated with Water Consumption in Indian Households
Venkatesh Govindarajan
Journal of Industrial Ecology, Volume 17, Issue 3, Pages 472–481

The focus of urban water system metabolism studies has, by and large, been restricted to what comes under the domain of the urban water utilities: water treatment and supply, and wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal. The material and energy flows both necessitated and facilitated by the supply of treated water to households—the water demand subsystem—are by no means negligible. This article studies the key flows into households associated with water consumption and the environmental impacts related to the same for India as a whole. Electricity consumption in washing machines and water heaters contributes the most to almost all the 13 environmental impact categories considered. This is easily explained by the fossil fuel heaviness of the Indian mix (>60%). Soaps contribute the most to terrestrial eco‐toxicity and malodorous air. In India, on a national scale, all the environmental impact categories deserve attention. The absolute consumption of electricity, soaps, and detergents, and the demand for home appliances will increase in the years to come.

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