There are many high potential opportunities to save both water and energy – both by the states’ water infrastructure and by consumers of water.
During the conduct of its 2005 report on California’s Water–Energy Relationship, the CEC sought input from water and energy stakeholders on the greatest potential for positively affecting the state’s water-energy relationship. Stakeholder recommendations that appear in Appendix E of the report are summarized here. Some of these measures can be achieved within existing policies, rules, regulations and infrastructure. Others will require changes to infrastructure, polices, practices and technologies.
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The Alliance’s Water‐Energy Advisory Committee came to the consensus that like energy efficiency, water conservation is the most cost‐effective and environmentally preferred action to save energy and water. Conserving a unit of water avoids using the energy that would have been needed to supply, treat, deliver, consume, collect, treat, and dispose of it as wastewater. The second major opportunity is expansion of the use of recycled water. The actual amount of energy saved depends upon the energy intensity of the displaced water supply, the nature and extent of its treatment, and the type of end use.
Additionally, the Alliance documented several promising existing best practice strategies and emerging technologies that could reduce energy use in the retail water sector. These measures include:
- Aeration System Improvement
- Pump refurbishment
- Fuel Cells
- Water Loss Control
- Distributed Recycled Water Production
- Digester High Performance Microorganisms
Some of these measures have already been implemented. Most energy utilities offer programs to help their water agency customers increase the efficiency of their pumps and treatment facilities. Both water and energy utilities offer programs to reduce hot water usage through more efficient household appliances such as dishwashers and clothes washers to save both water and energy. Water conservation has even become a priority action for the state. In the 2009 Comprehensive Water Package, California passed into law a requirement to reduce per capita urban water use 20% by 2020 statewide.