American Society of Civil Engineers

Water Conservation and Reuse: A Case Study of the Energy-Water Nexus in Texas

by Ashlynn S. Stillwell, (Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station C1786, Austin, TX 78712 E-mail: and Michael E. Webber, (Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station C2200, Austin, TX 78712 E-mail:
Section: Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater Council, pp. 4093-4108, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2010: Challenges of Change
Abstract: Due to the interconnectedness of energy and water, saving water and saving energy can be synonymous. This case study estimates the potential water and energy savings in Texas from statewide implementation of water conservation and reuse practices. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first estimate of its kind for Texas. We estimate that Texas could save 908 billion L of water and 330 to 800 million kWh of electricity annually. Incorporating water reuse as 12% of total water demand, Texas could save 2,200 billion L of potable water annually. This water reuse requires an energy investment of 710 million kWh annually for additional treatment and distribution of reclaimed water, yet saves energy for potable water treatment, estimated at 800 to 1,040 million kWh annually. This energy accounting shows a net energy savings of 73 to 310 million kWh annually. Our results show that water reuse operations are best suited for municipalities currently using advanced wastewater treatment processes, thereby decreasing the energy investment needed for reclaimed water treatment.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Water reclamation
Case studies