Water and Energy Projects are catalysts in generating new employment opportunities and entrepreneurial efforts in communities that are in the forefront of managing watershed and water resources issues in urban and rural settings.
Communities are confronting new and complex challenges to achieve safe and affordable water supplies, collect and treat waste water and storm water, flood protection, rivers and streams for fishing and swimming. There are also challenges with aging infrastructure and the impact of climate change on human health and ecosystems.
Storm Water if rain is not properly managed and flows over impervious surfaces into the nearest storm drain, it can have a detrimental effect on rivers and streams. In an urban environment, storm water is also closely related to safety, flooding, waterway health and drinking water.
Challenges that Require New Infrastructure Investments and Approaches to Urban Water Resources
Waterways urbanization is responsible for many of the sources that contribute to waterway degradation. Increases in impervious surface area and runoff have negative effects on stream flow. Once the natural physical condition of a waterway is compromised by pollution or excessive runoff, it sets off a chain of degradation: erosion, water temperature changes and habitat loss.
Watershed groups, municipalities, agencies, and conservation groups working together to develop watershed and restoration plans, implement projects and return streams to healthy thriving systems by implementing watershed assessments and planning programs, quality control plans, floodplain protection, land use management and storm water best management practices and more.
Infrastructure Requires Continuous Inspection and Maintenance
Conservation the true cost of water in a property should be measured as the water rate + the sewer rate multiplied by the water consumption volume + plus fees and other associated costs. In addition, while the water usage profile varies by building type and use, mechanical systems account for 30 percent of water use in a typical building, with cooling towers nearly 50 percent and outdoor usage another 20-30 percent.
Water Heating Accounts for Eight Percent of Energy Consumption in Commercial Buildings
Sub-meters help identify inefficiencies and malfunctions as leaks account for six percent of water usage and older fixtures consume up to five times more water prompting installation of leak detection systems.
Billing Meters Sub Meters Metrics Outdoors Landscaping O&M Irrigation
The Cost of Water is deceptively low as building owners and tenants pay for water twice – water supplied + water discharged to the sewer. Additional considerations include the cost of energy required to pump and heat water and rate increases over time from energy and water utilities. Cost control solutions and incentives range from fulfilling water requirements for building certifications, conducting water audits, inclusive of leak detection, to incorporating water efficiency into standard operating procedures and procurement policies.
Billing Issues verify your property’s rate class and meter size, read water meters regularly to verify usage – units and scale of readings should match bills and internal log books.
Water Meters Require Limited Maintenance and Annual Calibration
Bills can cover multiple meters with specific water usage for each; match all meters listed with their location and equipment covered. Record usage individually and ask utilities for credit on sewer charges for water lost to evaporation instead of being discharged to sewer, irrigation and cooling towers.
Meter and Sub-meter all sources of water to help identify areas for targeted reductions: city potable, reclaimed water and well water. Most facilities have one or two master meters supplying the whole building; others have one meter for an entire campus with multiple buildings. Sub-meters:
do not have to be on separate utility accounts;
can help identify leaks and equipment inefficiencies or malfunctions.
Water Metrics the sum of all sources: Potable Water from public water systems and classified for human consumption. Reclaimed Water wastewater treatment plant effluent purchased from a public water system. Well Water obtained from wells, bore wells, and other groundwater sources. Natural Freshwater sources that are not municipally supplied, including surface water sources such as lakes or streams. Other Sources rainwater or storm water harvested onsite, sump pump water harvesting, gray water, air-cooling condensate, reject water from water purification systems, water reclaimed onsite, or water from other reuse strategies.
Outdoor Water Usage the amount of water used outdoors is dictated by landscape size and design, the need for supplemental irrigation, management of pools and other facilities. Outdoor water use is a primary driver of peak use.
Landscaping a well-designed, healthy, water-efficient landscape includes healthy soils to promote water infiltration and root growth, appropriate grading with gentle slopes, mulching of landscaped beds to keep soils cool and moist, drought-tolerant, native, or climate/regionally appropriate plant species, minimal turf area.
O&M maintain existing plantings and protect your investment in plants, remove weeds so water is available for desired plants, allow turf grass to grow longer to achieve deeper root growth, make shade and apply less water to shaded areas, minimize water used for other purposes, shut off water features whenever possible, recirculate in water features, sweep, don’t water hard surfaces.
Irrigation install rain shutoff devices or sensors, soil moisture-based control technologies and sprinklers. Maintenance check the system for broken or clogged sprinkler heads, move or adjust sprinkler components to avoid watering pavement, install and monitor water sub-meters for irrigation systems, monitor monthly use trends, audit irrigation system every three years.
Innovative Solutions for Your Home Neighborhood and Business