SUEZ presents its expertise at the International Desalination Association Congress in San Diego this week

SUEZ presents its expertise at the International Desalination Association Congress in San Diego this week

Our mission as the second largest environmental services company in the world is to enable a resourceful future for all. As we said a few weeks ago, the lack of water is the main challenge of the 21st century. That is why SUEZ is making desalination and water reuse a priority. Through our treatment solutions subsidiary Degremont, we are showcasing our expertise this week in San Diego to talk about “Renewable water resources to meet global needs” (IDA 2015 Theme). The IDA Congress takes place every two years and attracts worldwide visitors from the water industry, the universities and the research community. Given the major drought California is facing, the place of the event is a strong symbol. With 40% of the world population living within 60 miles of the coastal area, desalination of seawater is proving to be an essential alternative method for sustainability in urban areas. In 2016, the desalination market is expected to supply 500 million people in drinking water (300 million today) and will also provide water agricultural needs.   With its 250 desalination plant throughout the world, SUEZ supplies 10 million of people with freshwater. Stop by booth #1019 and talk to our experts to discover the benefits of reverse osmosis seawater, demineralized process water for boilers and cooling circuits and so much more! You can also take a look at our conferences program:...
United Water continues to work towards ambitious energy reduction goals

United Water continues to work towards ambitious energy reduction goals

The United Water blog sat down with our company’s Energy Manager Elizabeth Watson to learn more about the goal to reduce energy usage by an additional five percent by the end of 2016. This goal is particularly ambitious since the company has already marked significant progress in this area:  since 2009, we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions in our operations by 16.5 % and shown a 28.5% improvement in energy efficiency. Elizabeth Watson, United Water’s first Energy Manager, has a dirty, little secret: Most clean water in this country is delivered with the help of dirty, coal-burning power plants. That’s because water requires pumping, and pumps require electricity, and almost half of U.S. electricity is produced by burning coal. Watson readily shares the secret in the hopes of pulling the plug on as much energy usage as possible. Right now, United Water uses 520 million kilowatt hours per year—enough to power 48,000 homes—to process and distribute water and wastewater. The company’s goal is to reduce energy usage five percent by the end of 2016. That’s enough energy to power 2,400 of those homes for a year. Why is United Water so invested in reducing energy? United Water cares a great deal about energy and sustainability, and we’ve done a lot over the years. We’re just stepping it up a notch. We already cut the company’s annual energy bill by $1.3 million and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 5,500 metric tons. But we still need to do more, and we are committed to make it happen to reduce energy usage by an additional five percent by the end of 2016! That is a...
In Tap Water We Trust

In Tap Water We Trust

  In the lead-up to National Drinking Water Week, a news article about French consumer confidence in tap water grabbed our attention. The survey found that 80% of respondents “trust” the water coming from their taps. Similarly 74% of respondents are satisfied with the quality of the water in their home and 69% appreciate the taste. We had incorrectly associated Perrier and Evian with what we assumed to be a bottled water tradition or preference in France. Maybe French spring water isn’t tres chic after all. Maybe Americans are the ones who are hooked on bottled water. Consider this: in recent U.S. surveys, only 53% of municipal water customers said they are likely to drink tap water versus bottled or otherwise filtered water. What gives? In an interview earlier this year with Duke University professor and author James Salzman, the United Water Blog asked this very question. If our water in the U.S. is among the cleanest in the world, why is bottled water so prevalent? The answer, in summary, was that water choices like many other ones, are influenced heavily by marketing. And very good marketing at that: bottled water sells for up to 1,000 times the price of tap water. Salzman found in his research for Drinking Water: A History that since the early 90s when Coke, Pepsi and Nestle entered the bottled water market and the consumption of bottled water skyrocketed, Americans have seemingly had an ambivalent relationship with tap water. Whereas in the 70s, if someone went into a gas station and asked for water they would have been directed to the hose outside. On...

Preserving water for a sustainable future: A shocking amount of water is lost to leaky pipes

Aging water infrastructure and the resulting water loss is a prevailing problem throughout the nation.  Estimates show that 700 Billion – with a B – gallons a year of safe drinkable water is lost nationally to leaky pipes.  Leaky pipes contribute to billions of dollars – an estimate of $2.6 billion — in lost treated water. We were in Austin, Texas this week for SXSW Eco to talk about transparency, communications, open data and other innovative approaches to managing environmental challenges and our most precious natural resource – water.  These were seemingly appropriate discussions to be held in Austin during a time that the city is amidst its worst drought on record. We read an article last month that uncovered that the City of Austin, TX loses more than 3 billion gallons of water each year due to leaky or broken pipes – a number made even more alarming during this period of drought. Of course one piece of the answer is to replace or reline these pipes, which would require a multimillion dollar investment for a city the size of Austin.  Similarly, in the areas where we operate, United Water will invest millions of millions of dollars over the next several years to reline or replace leaky and aging water infrastructure. In addition, our non-revenue water or “water preservation” program is another piece of the answer. Our program has been key in “preserving” lost water in our extensive piping systems that distribute clean and safe water, and in identifying targeted areas for improvement. We started by analyzing lost water:  losses can be real losses, due to leaks, or...

The Price of Sustainable Water Service: a Not-So-Simple Calculation

Circle of Blue, a leading information source on water issues, published an article earlier this summer entitled “The Price of Water, A Comparison of Water Rates and Usage in 30 US Cities” by Brett Walton. The article explores the different factors determining the cost of water services. There are countless factors contributing to the cost of water service: customers’ proximity to the water, the cities’ per capita water consumption, the regions’ yearly precipitation, government subsidies, and many more. As expected, the cost of water service varies dramatically across the country.  For an average family of four using 150 gallons per day or 4,500 gallons per month; the monthly cost of water service ranges from $27 to $224. In most American cities, water use is declining while rates charged are rising. Since less water is being used, utility companies must raise prices for customers to provide for their costs. Western states, however, may feel the present changes less than other states. The federal government invested in major water infrastructure projects in the West over 50 years ago. The price of water service is artificially low in these areas and customers are more likely to experience “rate shock” to bridge the cost gap when investments and infrastructure repairs are made. Proximity to water also determines water rates. Moving water takes energy and therefore energy costs are higher in drought-prone regions. Whereas the Great Lakes region, for example, may have lower energy costs associated with water delivery because of its close proximity to its water sources. Also contributing to water service costs is crumbling water infrastructure; some of which has been in...