Water/Energy Nexus

According to the 2000 census nearly a quarter of Arizona’s population lives in rural communities. Many of these communities lack the resources needed to effectively manage their water resources (Arizona Water Resources Research Center, 2002), including their water and wastewater systems. While urban water and wastewater utilities have a highly-trained cadre of water professionals, smaller communities often rely on a patchwork of national (USGS, NRCS), and state agencies and associations (ASUA, ADWR, ADEQ) for technical expertise.

Additionally, rising energy costs pose problems for rural water and wastewater systems, and will continue to do so. Substantial amounts of energy are required to move and treat potable water, and to treat wastewater and dispose of the associated waste streams. Because many such systems use over half of their energy budgets to move and treat water and wastewater, increasing energy costs add significant stress to O&M budgets.

In rapidly-growing states like Arizona, the demand for potable water and wastewater services is expected only to increase. This growth in demand, and expanding environmental regulation, will further increase the energy demand from rural water and wastewater systems.

As part of an Arizona Water Institute-funded initiative, a research team with Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona representation has:

  • Completed a set of case studies of energy use by representative small rural Arizona water and wastewater systems;
  • Identified, evaluated and prioritized technologies and strategies that can presently be used by Arizona water and wastewater providers to conserve water, reduce energy consumption, and reduce green house gases;
  • Condensed and summarized those technologies and strategies into a “Best Practices” guide intended to assist rural Arizonan water and wastewater providers in their water / energy decision making.
  • Developed this website in order to share and disseminate study results.

Case Studies:

Best Practices Manual (pdf download)

S.P. Mead
C.M. Schlinger
W.A. Auberle
B. Billy
R. Casavant
M. Budhu
contact us

Charles Schlinger
Associate Professor
PO Box 15600
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
(928) 523-0652
Fax: (928) 523-2300

Steve Mead
Associate Professor
PO Box 15600
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
(928) 523-5650
Fax: (928) 523-2300

best practices manual

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2009 Arizona Board of Regents, Northern Arizona University
South San Francisco Street, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011