Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2011 - (Page 24)

Where the BY JOHN E. REGNIER The Low Hanging Fruit in Money and Energy Savings THE PRODUCTION AND distribution of drinking water and the collection and treatment of wastewater is an energy intensive industry requiring numerous pumps and motors of high horsepower. It is conservatively estimated that water systems serving less than 10,000 people produce and/or distribute nearly two trillion gallons of water a year at an electrical cost of approximately one billion dollars per year, and these figures don’t include the cost of collecting and treating a portion of this potable water as wastewater. It has been pointed out that nationwide about 4 percent of U.S. power generation is for water supply and treatment (Biehl and Inman, 2010) and it is widely reported that next to staffing, power consumption is the highest cost experienced by water utilities. Dollars Are There are many ways to estimate the potential for saving energy and associated dollars in this industry, and this article presents one approach for making these estimates for small public drinking water utilities and the results derived from this approach. These smaller systems perhaps offer more opportunities for such savings than the larger ones primarily because their small size often allows more flexibility of operation to take advantage of conservation steps offered by power suppliers when customers can most efficiently match their operational practices to the power supplier operations (off-peak power use for example). Also, due to their often-limited resources, it frequently hasn’t been feasible for the smaller utilities to employ consultants to evaluate their power consumption practices. In addition to savings from improved operational practices, these systems 24 • Second Quarter 2011 can achieve signifi cant energy and dollar savings by reducing the amount of water lost through leakage. Approach In 2008 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published FACTOIDS: Drinking Water and Ground Water Statistics for 2008, which includes a nationwide breakdown of the numbers of community water systems by system size and population served by these systems. Using these base statistics and ratios of individual state data to nationwide numbers as well as the following assumptions, estimates can be made of the savings possible by state and nation. Assumptions: • Average water consumption in small systems is 6,000 gallons/meter/month.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2011

Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2011
From the President
Reducing Energy Costs for Public Water Systems
Are You There Yet? Evaluating Your Portfolio
Where the Dollars Are: The Low Hanging Fruit in Money and Energy Savings
Information Technology and Water Systems
Stormwater Solution
The Next Workforce
Water University Graduates
The Voice of Rural Water: Rural Water Rally 2011
Regulatory Update
Throwing My Loop
Index to Advertisers/
From the CEO

Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2011