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Energy Benchmarking of Water and Wastewater Treatment, Distribution and Collection: A Case Study of Austin Water Utility

[+] Author Affiliations
Jill B. Kjellsson, Michael E. Webber

University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

David Greene, Raj Bhattarai

Austin Water, Austin, TX

Paper No. IMECE2013-65309, pp. V06BT07A066; 9 pages
  • ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 6B: Energy
  • San Diego, California, USA, November 15–21, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5629-1
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


Nationally, 4% of electricity usage goes towards moving and treating water and wastewater. The energy intensity of the water and wastewater utility sector is affected by many factors including water source, water quality, and the distance and elevation that water must be transported. Furthermore, energy accounts for 10% or more of a utility’s total operating cost, suggesting that energy savings can account for significant cost savings. Better knowledge of where and when energy is used could support strategic energy interventions and reveal opportunities for efficiency. Accordingly, this investigation quantifies energy intensity by process and type, including electricity and natural gas, and explores the time-varying nature of electric energy consumption for potable water distribution using the Austin Water Utility (AWU) in Austin, Texas as a case study. This research found that most of energy consumed by the AWU is for pumping throughout the distribution network (57%) and at lift stations (10%) while potable water treatment accounts for the least (5%). Though the focus is site specific, the methodology shown herein can be applied to other utilities with sufficient data.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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