Best Practices Study

Wastewater treatment plants have multiple options to reduce energy use
Wastewater treatment plants have multiple options to reduce energy use

In 2010 the California Public Utilities Commission completed a series of studies and pilot projects documenting significant opportunities for reducing the energy requirements of the water sector (including production, treatment, distribution and water conservation.) To build upon this, the Alliance developed the Eastern Municipal Water District: A Case Study of Best-In-Class Water-Energy Programs and Practices report documenting for retail water and waste-water agencies:

  • The range of potential energy efficiency and generation opportunities that could be implemented;
  • The types of programs and technologies available to help water agencies achieve energy benefits; and
  • The primary barriers that need to be overcome to increase adoption of “best” energy programs, practices and technologies. 

The Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) serves as a case study to illustrate the types of strategies and measures California water agencies can implement to improve energy efficiency.  In the case study, the Alliance documented EMWD’s progressive implementation of multiple best practice strategies and interviewed operations staff to document barriers and lessons learned.

Key findings from this study include:

  • A close relationship between water agencies and energy utilities is instrumental to achieving energy savings in the water sector; 
  • Smart meters and SCADA can provide large amounts of data to baseline the energy use of water agency; however, availability of detailed data is not required to identify promising energy saving opportunities.  A simple bill analysis could still lead to savings.
  • Technology risk and the need for investment prioritization may prevent water agencies from installing certain efficiency measures.
  • Newly adopted South Coast Air Quality Management District emissions limits may prevent water agencies from continuing to beneficially use biogas; complying with new limits may prove cost prohibitive for some water agencies.

Download the full report for more details.