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Energy-efficient urban water supply

This Solution was tailored to Local Governments who have ownership and/or regulatory authority over the municipal water supply system. In this Solution, the Local Government takes a comprehensive approach to increase its energy-efficiency throughout the different phases of the system`s project and useful life, from policy setting, planning, project design, and project evaluation to operation, maintenance and monitoring.

This Solution is applicable to new projects, expansions, renovation of existing systems, and to their operation. In this context, the Local Government`s key leverages to deliver an energy-efficient system range from "policy" and "regulation" to "procurement", eventually combined with "operation and maintenance".

Motivation / Relevance

The process of potable water production and supply, from water transportation (bulk transfer), to storage, treatment and distribution to the end user, can account for a high percentage of the municipal energy consumption, corresponding to high operating costs and indirect GHG emissions due to electricity consumption.

Therefore, increasing the energy efficiency of the water supply system has high mitigation potential, among other benefits for Local Government`s operations and for society:
  1. As an example, in the city of Nagpur, India, water treatment and supply accounted for 57% of the municipal electricity consumption in 2005-2006 (source: Local Renewables project, ICLEI 2010) [1].
  2. In the USA the energy required for the treatment and delivery of drinking water accounts for as much as 80% of its total cost [2].

Main impacts

  • Decrease the risk of shortage / failure of the municipal water supply system
  • Climate mitigation and adaptation benefits
  • Indirect water savings due to the water-energy nexus or interdependency (in Northern Europe around 45% of the total fresh water used is drawn for electricity production by nuclear and coal fired power plants, and in the New Member States it is as high as 65% [3])

Benefits and Co-Benefits

  • Decrease the energy needed to produce and deliver drinking water
  • Decrease the greenhouse gas emissions due to energy consumption for the production and delivery of drinking water to the population
  • Decrease the Local Government`s energy bill
  • Potentially lower water costs to the end consumer