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Ka Leung Lam

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science at Duke Kushan University
DKU Faculty

Selected Publications


Water-energy trajectories for urban water and wastewater reveal the impact of city strategies

Journal Article Applied Energy · July 15, 2024 The global water industry has a greater emphasis on energy management than ever before. The confluence of rising energy demand and costs, and net-zero greenhouse gas emission targets means the sector must rapidly transition to a new ‘energy future’. Yet, f ... Full text Cite

An overview of environmental co-benefits and trade-offs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in municipal wastewater management

Journal Article Sustainable Production and Consumption · May 1, 2024 Many opportunities are available to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with municipal wastewater management. The vision of low-carbon or carbon-neutral operation of wastewater treatment plants is emerging. Is the vision of low-carbon wastewat ... Full text Cite

Compiling life cycle inventories for wastewater-derived products.

Journal Article Water research · May 2024 With the paradigm shift in wastewater management from pollutant removal to resource recovery, more wastewater-derived products are emerging from different recovery pathways. It is becoming increasingly important to understand the potential environmental im ... Full text Cite

Life cycle assessment of ammonium sulfate recovery from urban wastewater

Journal Article Blue-Green Systems · January 1, 2024 Anthropogenic nitrogen fluxes are profoundly altering the global biogeochemical nitrogen cycle. Better management of these nitrogen fluxes is essential. Recovering nitrogen from urban wastewater reduces both the energy and resources required to produce nit ... Full text Cite

Opportunities and challenges of tackling Scope 3 "Indirect" emissions from residential hot water.

Journal Article Water research X · December 2023 The water sector could play a major role towards a Net Zero greenhouse gas (GHG) future if Scope 3 emissions were embraced and operationalised. Significant opportunities and challenges exist in tackling Scope 3 emissions including those associated with cus ... Full text Cite

Assessing the effectiveness of site real-time adaptive control for stormwater quality control

Journal Article Journal of Water Process Engineering · December 1, 2023 Urban sprawl, excessive rainfall, and resource limitations have challenged the performance of conventional water-sensitive urban designs (WSUD). To address these issues, there is a growing interest in adopting site real-time adaptive control (SRAC) for int ... Full text Cite

Carbon footprint and voting preferences of a council

Journal Article Resources, Conservation and Recycling · November 1, 2022 Accounting for carbon should be undertaken at multiple scales to create awareness of the negative environmental impacts of consumption. We undertake a comprehensive consumption-based supply-chain assessment of a community's emissions for a selected council ... Full text Cite

Life Cycle Environmental Impacts of Wastewater-Derived Phosphorus Products: An Agricultural End-User Perspective.

Journal Article Environmental science & technology · July 2022 Recovering phosphorus from wastewater in more concentrated forms has potential to sustainably recirculate phosphorus from cities to agriculture. The environmental sustainability of wastewater-based phosphorus recovery processes or wastewater-derived phosph ... Full text Cite

Toward Carbon-Neutral Water Systems: Insights from Global Cities

Journal Article Engineering · July 1, 2022 Many cities have pledged to achieve carbon neutrality. The urban water industry can also contribute its share to a carbon-neutral future. Using a multi-city time-series analysis approach, this study aims to assess the progress and lessons learned from the ... Full text Cite

A multi-regional input-output analysis of direct and virtual urban water flows to reduce city water footprints in Australia

Journal Article Sustainable Cities and Society · December 1, 2021 This study focused on understanding what sector-region combinations could be targeted to reduce total city water footprints? We used multi-regional input-output analysis of direct and virtual water, across five Australian capital cities and their supportin ... Full text Cite

Site-scale Urban Water Mass Balance Assessment (SUWMBA) to quantify water performance of urban design-technology-environment configurations.

Journal Article Water research · January 2021 Historically, little consideration has been given to water performance of urban developments such as "hydrological naturalness" or "local water self-sufficiency". This has led to problems with increased stormwater runoff, flooding, and lack of local contri ... Full text Cite

Low-Carbon Urban Water Systems: Opportunities beyond Water and Wastewater Utilities?

Journal Article Environmental science & technology · December 2020 The provision of urban water and wastewater services contributes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Urban water supply and wastewater utilities can potentially achieve low-carbon or carbon-neutral operation through many "utility opportunities". Outside the ... Full text Cite

Life cycle assessment of nutrient recycling from wastewater: A critical review.

Journal Article Water research · April 2020 Recovering resources from wastewater systems is increasingly being emphasised. Many technologies exist or are under development for recycling nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater to agriculture. Planning and design methodologies are ne ... Full text Cite

Defining water-related energy for global comparison, clearer communication, and sharper policy

Journal Article Journal of Cleaner Production · November 1, 2019 The need for energy in water provision and use is obvious, however the drivers are often complex, difficult to assess, and often inconsistently presented. Here we build a clearer definition and conceptual framework of “water-related energy”. We apply this ... Full text Cite

Energy intensity and embodied energy flow in Australia: An input-output analysis

Journal Article Journal of Cleaner Production · July 20, 2019 Decoupling energy use from economic growth is critical for improving energy productivity and mitigating climate change. Input-output databases have been increasingly utilised for consumption-based energy accounting, and for exploring both the direct and in ... Full text Cite

Understanding urban water performance at the city-region scale using an urban water metabolism evaluation framework.

Journal Article Water research · June 2018 Water sensitive interventions are being promoted to reduce the adverse impacts of urban development on natural water cycles. However it is currently difficult to know the best strategy for their implementation because current and desired urban water perfor ... Full text Cite

Life-cycle energy impacts for adapting an urban water supply system to droughts.

Journal Article Water research · December 2017 In recent years, cities in some water stressed regions have explored alternative water sources such as seawater desalination and potable water recycling in spite of concerns over increasing energy consumption. In this study, we evaluate the current and fut ... Full text Cite

Energy use for water provision in cities

Journal Article Journal of Cleaner Production · February 1, 2017 Energy demand for urban water supply is emerging as a significant issue. This work undertakes a multi-city time-series analysis of the direct energy use for urban water supply. It quantifies the energy use and intensity for water supply in 30 cities (total ... Full text Cite

City-scale analysis of water-related energy identifies more cost-effective solutions.

Journal Article Water research · February 2017 Energy and greenhouse gas management in urban water systems typically focus on optimising within the direct system boundary of water utilities that covers the centralised water supply and wastewater treatment systems, despite a greater energy influence by ... Full text Cite

Water-energy trajectories for urban water and wastewater reveal the impact of city strategies

Journal Article Applied Energy · July 15, 2024 The global water industry has a greater emphasis on energy management than ever before. The confluence of rising energy demand and costs, and net-zero greenhouse gas emission targets means the sector must rapidly transition to a new ‘energy future’. Yet, f ... Full text Cite

An overview of environmental co-benefits and trade-offs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in municipal wastewater management

Journal Article Sustainable Production and Consumption · May 1, 2024 Many opportunities are available to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with municipal wastewater management. The vision of low-carbon or carbon-neutral operation of wastewater treatment plants is emerging. Is the vision of low-carbon wastewat ... Full text Cite

Compiling life cycle inventories for wastewater-derived products.

Journal Article Water research · May 2024 With the paradigm shift in wastewater management from pollutant removal to resource recovery, more wastewater-derived products are emerging from different recovery pathways. It is becoming increasingly important to understand the potential environmental im ... Full text Cite

Life cycle assessment of ammonium sulfate recovery from urban wastewater

Journal Article Blue-Green Systems · January 1, 2024 Anthropogenic nitrogen fluxes are profoundly altering the global biogeochemical nitrogen cycle. Better management of these nitrogen fluxes is essential. Recovering nitrogen from urban wastewater reduces both the energy and resources required to produce nit ... Full text Cite

Opportunities and challenges of tackling Scope 3 "Indirect" emissions from residential hot water.

Journal Article Water research X · December 2023 The water sector could play a major role towards a Net Zero greenhouse gas (GHG) future if Scope 3 emissions were embraced and operationalised. Significant opportunities and challenges exist in tackling Scope 3 emissions including those associated with cus ... Full text Cite

Assessing the effectiveness of site real-time adaptive control for stormwater quality control

Journal Article Journal of Water Process Engineering · December 1, 2023 Urban sprawl, excessive rainfall, and resource limitations have challenged the performance of conventional water-sensitive urban designs (WSUD). To address these issues, there is a growing interest in adopting site real-time adaptive control (SRAC) for int ... Full text Cite

Carbon footprint and voting preferences of a council

Journal Article Resources, Conservation and Recycling · November 1, 2022 Accounting for carbon should be undertaken at multiple scales to create awareness of the negative environmental impacts of consumption. We undertake a comprehensive consumption-based supply-chain assessment of a community's emissions for a selected council ... Full text Cite

Life Cycle Environmental Impacts of Wastewater-Derived Phosphorus Products: An Agricultural End-User Perspective.

Journal Article Environmental science & technology · July 2022 Recovering phosphorus from wastewater in more concentrated forms has potential to sustainably recirculate phosphorus from cities to agriculture. The environmental sustainability of wastewater-based phosphorus recovery processes or wastewater-derived phosph ... Full text Cite

Toward Carbon-Neutral Water Systems: Insights from Global Cities

Journal Article Engineering · July 1, 2022 Many cities have pledged to achieve carbon neutrality. The urban water industry can also contribute its share to a carbon-neutral future. Using a multi-city time-series analysis approach, this study aims to assess the progress and lessons learned from the ... Full text Cite

A multi-regional input-output analysis of direct and virtual urban water flows to reduce city water footprints in Australia

Journal Article Sustainable Cities and Society · December 1, 2021 This study focused on understanding what sector-region combinations could be targeted to reduce total city water footprints? We used multi-regional input-output analysis of direct and virtual water, across five Australian capital cities and their supportin ... Full text Cite

Site-scale Urban Water Mass Balance Assessment (SUWMBA) to quantify water performance of urban design-technology-environment configurations.

Journal Article Water research · January 2021 Historically, little consideration has been given to water performance of urban developments such as "hydrological naturalness" or "local water self-sufficiency". This has led to problems with increased stormwater runoff, flooding, and lack of local contri ... Full text Cite

Low-Carbon Urban Water Systems: Opportunities beyond Water and Wastewater Utilities?

Journal Article Environmental science & technology · December 2020 The provision of urban water and wastewater services contributes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Urban water supply and wastewater utilities can potentially achieve low-carbon or carbon-neutral operation through many "utility opportunities". Outside the ... Full text Cite

Life cycle assessment of nutrient recycling from wastewater: A critical review.

Journal Article Water research · April 2020 Recovering resources from wastewater systems is increasingly being emphasised. Many technologies exist or are under development for recycling nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater to agriculture. Planning and design methodologies are ne ... Full text Cite

Defining water-related energy for global comparison, clearer communication, and sharper policy

Journal Article Journal of Cleaner Production · November 1, 2019 The need for energy in water provision and use is obvious, however the drivers are often complex, difficult to assess, and often inconsistently presented. Here we build a clearer definition and conceptual framework of “water-related energy”. We apply this ... Full text Cite

Energy intensity and embodied energy flow in Australia: An input-output analysis

Journal Article Journal of Cleaner Production · July 20, 2019 Decoupling energy use from economic growth is critical for improving energy productivity and mitigating climate change. Input-output databases have been increasingly utilised for consumption-based energy accounting, and for exploring both the direct and in ... Full text Cite

Understanding urban water performance at the city-region scale using an urban water metabolism evaluation framework.

Journal Article Water research · June 2018 Water sensitive interventions are being promoted to reduce the adverse impacts of urban development on natural water cycles. However it is currently difficult to know the best strategy for their implementation because current and desired urban water perfor ... Full text Cite

Life-cycle energy impacts for adapting an urban water supply system to droughts.

Journal Article Water research · December 2017 In recent years, cities in some water stressed regions have explored alternative water sources such as seawater desalination and potable water recycling in spite of concerns over increasing energy consumption. In this study, we evaluate the current and fut ... Full text Cite

Energy use for water provision in cities

Journal Article Journal of Cleaner Production · February 1, 2017 Energy demand for urban water supply is emerging as a significant issue. This work undertakes a multi-city time-series analysis of the direct energy use for urban water supply. It quantifies the energy use and intensity for water supply in 30 cities (total ... Full text Cite

City-scale analysis of water-related energy identifies more cost-effective solutions.

Journal Article Water research · February 2017 Energy and greenhouse gas management in urban water systems typically focus on optimising within the direct system boundary of water utilities that covers the centralised water supply and wastewater treatment systems, despite a greater energy influence by ... Full text Cite

Comparison of water-energy trajectories of two major regions experiencing water shortage.

Journal Article Journal of environmental management · October 2016 Water shortage, increased demand and rising energy costs are major challenges for the water sector worldwide. Here we use a comparative case study to explore the long-term changes in the system-wide water and associated energy use in two different regions ... Full text Cite

Quantifying and managing urban water-related energy use systemically: case study lessons from Australia

Journal Article International Journal of Water Resources Development · May 3, 2016 In this paper, three Australian case studies contribute to improved understanding of water-related energy quantification and management. A systems analysis of urban water in South East Queensland (Case Study 1) demonstrates the energy impact of water end u ... Full text Cite

A systemic framework and analysis of urban water energy

Journal Article Environmental Modelling and Software · November 1, 2015 Energy impacts of urban water systems are substantial, but not typically analysed systemically. We develop a new system boundary framework including a utility, the 'bulk water supply authority' (SB1); the 'urban water system' including water use (SB2); and ... Full text Cite