A new study conducted by the University of California, Davis in collaboration with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) showed that conserving water does more than just save water, it also conserves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
The study showed that customer-focused water conservation programs are just as cost-effective as energy efficiency programs in reducing electricity use, GHGs and other energy-intensive operations.
“In California we use about 20% of statewide electricity and 30% of non-power plant natural gas to move, treat, and heat water,” said author Edward Spang, an assistant professor in the UC Davis Food Science and Technology Department and the Center for Water-Energy Efficiency. “Using LADWP as a case study, we wanted to examine the energy savings secured through water conservation programs relative to energy efficiency programs.”
UC Davis applied three different estimates of energy intensity (EI): the LADWP service territory; an expanded boundary that included LADWP’s imported water infrastructure systems; and a broader estimate for the entire regional hydrologic zone. Researchers also analyzed data on the costs and estimated savings of LADWP’s water conservation and energy efficiency programs.
UC Davis found that LADWP saved a considerable amount of energy through its water conservation programs.
“Although LADWP has been focused on water conservation and the developing local water resources for quite some time, this study validates our efforts and really highlights the added benefit of reducing energy intensive water operations and related greenhouse gas emissions,” said Nancy Sutley, LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager of External and Regulatory Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer. “This fruitful collaboration with UC Davis has given us valuable data we can use to effectively allocate resources and programs to better serve our customers.”
The study was published in the journal Environmental Research Letters and can be viewed at: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/abb9de/pdf