Water Journal : Current Feb 2017
"People say, 'We're going to treat water to this standard, because that's what we've been told to do'. But if industry can speak with regulators about how that standard affects other aspects of the process, then they have the opportunity to better balance local and global pollution. "You can treat water to an extremely high level, but it might cost 10 times the energy to do that. In a global picture, is that actually the right thing to do?" IN THE MIX One major Australian provider already jointly manages water and power supply: Power and Water Corporation in the Northern Territory. While the small customer base in the NT has facilitated the joint management and provision of power and water, the utility has also been able to collaborate and share in research and technical expertise across both their water and power divisions of the business. "We've got common databases and IT support. In Darwin and Alice Springs, we operate out of common sites, which provides us with both scale and efficiency," John Pudney, Water Services General Manager at Power and Water, said. While the utility is able to integrate services and thus work towards reducing duplications, Pudney does point out that it can sometimes be difficult to make a case for reducing water or energy use. "We have worked with colleagues in the power side to put cases for water efficiency within the power plants, but the difficulty is, without regulation, they will simply look at whether it is good financially, and generally it won't stack up," he said. Yet the kind of streamlining that Power and Water Corporation currently uses can be the basis for power and water savings that would take some of the strain off Australia's precious water assets while also helping the nation achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. With the Victorian Government now requiring water corporations to work towards zero net emissions by 2050, such savings are increasingly vital. California is currently running multiple pilot programs using advanced metering technology across water and power utilities to drive efficiencies in both. Smart water and energy meters have been rolled out across multiple states in Australia, and could be the basis for similar programs. Importantly, water and power efficiency at the household level has the potential for the largest impact on Australia's water-energy nexus. While many assume water distribution and treatment are the biggest users of energy in water provision, residential water use accounts for four times the energy consumption of water utilities. In fact, a 15% saving in residential hot-water heating would offset the entire energy consumption of supplying urban water.
Water Journal November 2016
Current May 2017