El Paso Implements Energy Management

In a move to achieve significant energy savings, along with increased efficiency of water network operations, El Paso Water Utilities (EPWU) – responsible for water supply to El Paso City in Texas, and parts of the surrounding County including the large Fort Bliss military base – has begun implementing Derceto’s Aquadapt energy management software.

El Paso Water Utilities (EPWU) provides water to over 160,000 households and 10,000 businesses in the city of El Paso, Texas. Supply also extends to selected areas of El Paso County, including Fort Bliss, the USA’s second largest military base of 1.2 million acres and 18,000 troops and their families.

EPWU’s Vice President of Operations and Technical Services, John Balliew, says the Derceto Aquadapt project is a strategic investment as EPWU works to achieve the optimum balance between water cost, quality, security of supply and long-term environmental sustainability.

“We’ve selected Derceto’s Aquadapt EMS software based on a pilot study which indicated significant reductions in our annual energy bill are achievable.  Depending on drought conditions and other water supply issues beyond our control, we anticipate a rapid payback on our investment and multi-million dollar savings over a ten-year period,” Balliew says.

“We have a complex water distribution network.  Aquadapt will give our water network operators a powerful new tool to help them make the best minute-by-minute operational decisions on where, when and how to pump water around our network.”

Supplying more than 800,000 users in the desert climate of El Paso requires balancing ground water from 150 wells with seasonal surface water supply from the nearby Rio Grande.  Water flows through four water treatment plants, three wastewater treatment plants and one water reclamation plant.

Successfully meeting the challenge of maintaining supply – through droughts and with a ten-year population increase of around 20 percent – has earned EPWU a strong reputation for innovation within the water engineering community.

EPWU’s John Balliew was recently named ‘engineer of the year’ by the Texas Society of Professional Engineers.  The award recognizes his work over 29 years at EPWU, including implementing the first PC-based supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system implemented by a major US water utility, introducing new technology to detect leaking water mains, and being a strong advocate and champion of using desalination technology to purify brackish ground water and reclaimed irrigation water.

The desalination plant is a key part of EPWU’s 50-year plan, which includes an emphasis on water conservation by consumers, alongside sustainability of supply by maximizing recovery of wastewater, recharging aquifers with treated surface water, and increased desalination of irrigation return flows.

Derceto’s CEO Wayne Spittal says Aquadapt EMS is a good fit with EPWU’s innovative water management and supply strategy that promotes best O&M practices and efficient use of energy.

“El Paso is leading the industry in its use of technology to maximize both efficiency and sustainability of water consumption and distribution – in the most challenging desert climate,” Spittal says. 

“We look forward to a successful implementation; one which creates a showcase of how our Aquadapt software can make an important contribution to energy saving and overall water network efficiency in such a complex environment.”

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