Water and the energy costs associated with consumption

A picture named grandlake

From the Summit Daily News (Roxane Peyser and Jennifer Schenk):

The water we use for residential and commercial consumption requires the use of enormous quantities of energy. Again, this is different from the more limited notion of thinking about water consumption solely from the perspective of depleting a vital resource. On average, energy used solely for pumping raw water collected from lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers through treatment facilities represents 15 percent of all the energy used in the treatment and distribution process; the remaining 85 percent of the energy used in the process is for distribution to homes, business and industry. This doesn’t even take into account the additional energy required for circulation, filtering and pumping after water is delivered to homes and businesses. When water leaves homes and businesses, it goes through an extensive wastewater treatment process…

Consider that the energy it takes to run a faucet for five minutes is equivalent to the energy used to run a 60-watt light bulb for 14 hours. Additional energy is consumed when we heat and cool the water we use. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, we use more energy to heat the water just in our homes than to light them. Initial and wastewater treatment is 3-4 percent of our national total electricity use, and this is expected to increase 20 percent over the next 15 years…

• Denver water used just over 20,000,000 kWh in 2007 to treat raw water and over 31,000,000 kWh for distribution

• The City of Parker (south metro Denver area) used 24,749,000 kWh of electricity in 2008 in connection with its water treatment process.

Leave a Reply