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Sustainable Water Infrastructure Contacts

Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Water & Energy Efficiency in Water and Wastewater Facilities

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Benefits and Challenges

U.S. Drinking Water and Wastewater Systems
Challenges

Water Scarcity A minimum of 36 states are anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages by 2013.
Climate Change Changing precipitation patterns, shrinking snow packs, increasing runoff, rising sea levels, and greater saltwater intrusion will likely result in significant adaptation efforts to maintain water resource and infrastructure services.
Increasing Population Between 1950 and 2000, U.S. population nearly doubled while the demand on public supply systems more than tripled. Increased demands are depleting aquifers at rates exceeding their recharge.
Energy Uncertainty Fewer sources of conventional fuels and increasingly expensive extraction costs are driving up oil prices, destabilizing the economy and causing global shortages and uncertainty for utility operating budgets.
Aging Infrastructure Repairing, replacing, and upgrading aging infrastructure will cost between $300 billion to $1 trillion over the next 20 years.

Across the U.S., drinking water and wastewater systems are facing a series of daunting challenges. These challenges can be overcome through more efficient operations, saving operating costs and improving environmental performance.

Economic Benefits

Many water systems have reduced expenses by implementing changes that require less energy to be consumed. Implementing energy conservation measures, using less expensive alternative energy sources or generating energy on-site are just a few examples of the ways that facilities are saving on their energy bills.

Environmental Benefits

Reducing energy use also benefits the environment by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. Innovative energy conservation practices can result in decreased methane releases or the amount of biosolids generated, among other benefits.

 

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