Water and wastewater utilities consume some of the highest amounts of energy in many municipalities, accounting for up to 40 percent of total energy consumed, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The high level of energy consumption is required for pumping surface or groundwater, treating water so that it is safe to drink, distributing the water to households, and then treating the wastewater. Overall, drinking water and wastewater systems account for approximately 2 percent of energy use in the United States, adding over 45 million tons of greenhouse gases annually.

Energy used to import water from rivers and reservoirs miles away can be reduced through local actions to treat wastewater to a potable standard and capture storm runoff to recharge aquifers. Improving the efficiency of current water and wastewater treatment facilities can contribute to more sustainable water practices, reduced emissions, and more cost-effective systems. Replacing older pumps and motors with newer, more energy-efficient equipment represents a major opportunity to improve efficiency and to reduce associated emissions. As noted by the EPA, newer models need less maintenance, tend to last longer, and, overall, save money. These actions, along with promoting water use efficiency within communities, can make a significant impact in the sector.

Use waste heat

Description: Recover/Productively Use Waste Heat – Many water and wastewater treatment facilities, including the Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) in Riverside County, CA, implement heat recovery to reduce overall energy …

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Use demand response

Description: Demand Response – Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) in Riverside County, CA has enrolled multiple facilities in a Demand Response (DR) program. Shutting down major electricity-using equipment (e.g., pumps) …

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