A Survey of Energy Use in Water Companies

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)

[TechWire] How much energy do water and wastewater companies use to treat and distribute water? Thus far, the issue has been relatively undocumented, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). But the ACEEE and the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) recently conducted a survey to find out…

Overall, the survey found that energy costs can represent 25 to 30 percent of total operation costs for water and wastewater utilities. However, the size of the water systems, pumping requirements between geographic locations and raw water characteristics all impact the energy intensity of the water system.

“Our findings indicate that energy intensity is impacted by a variety of factors, including the distance water has to travel, the elevation, the type of water itself, etc.,” said Dave Ribeiro, senior analyst for ACEEE’s Utilities, State and Local Policy Program.

For example, brackish groundwater or seawater desalination require much more treatment, so their energy intensity is significantly higher.

The report also found that some water and wastewater companies are making substantial progress in improving their energy and water efficiency, and suggests water and wastewater facilities leverage things like energy audits, capital investments, operational improvements and energy utility incentives to help reduce energy use (water efficiency programs save energy because energy is embedded in water through the water system)…


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