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Award-winning MSc ETIA Master´s Thesis:

© PID / David Bohmann

City of Vienna awards Maria Wirth the 2016 sponsorship prize for outstanding scientific research

Maria Wirth, alumna of the postgraduate MSc Environmental Technology & International Affairs (ETIA), class of 2014-2016, received the annual sponsorship prize for outstanding scientific research on Thursday, 1 December 2016, for the category “water”. The Vienna Municipal Department for Environmental Protection (MA 22) and the Department for Viennese Water (MA31) awarded the prize for her Master Thesis on “Anthropogenic Drivers of Municipal Water Supply: Examining the Impact on Energy Intensity in Water Utilities across Countries in Africa”, supervised by Dr. techn. Paul T. Yillia.

Situated within the water-energy nexus, Ms. Wirth identified drivers of freshwater availability, raw water quality and municipal water demand, described their interdependencies and how they influence energy use in water utilities. Energy represents the largest controllable cost factor in municipal water supply, but policymakers and water utility operators often underestimate its expenses and climate impact. Maria formed a set of quantifiable indicators, with which to link the drivers and compare risks of surging energy requirements. A country-level analysis across Africa revealed a high impact caused by competition for freshwater and polluting effluents from agriculture and industry, as well as an expected surge of municipal water demand and insufficient wastewater treatment in most countries.

Since 2003, the City of Vienna awards the annual sponsorship prize to young scientists, who conduct outstanding scientific research applicable to environmental protection in Vienna and its surroundings.

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