IWA Publishing

Embodied Energy in the Water Cycle

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The importance and connection between energy production, energy use and water reclamation cannot be overstated. It’s primarily a relationship that was born out of our need to re-engineer nature and develop energy sources for the industrial revolution. Water power was synonymous with agricultural irrigation, industrial mills and building dams to create water storage reservoirs for potable water use then capturing the runoff and reusing the waste runoff for other purposes. Most water systems today are pumped which provides an opportunity for moving towards reclamation that previously was not an available option. Another factor is the embodied energy in the water cycle has intensified due to increasing requirements to obtain better water quality for public and aquatic health. First and best use has been supplanted by the need for reuse and sustainable use. The importance of embodied energy in water reclamation and the ability to reduce energy consumption has been hidden until these “connections” were made and is only now beginning to be realized in the water cycle.

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