Few people need to be reminded of water’s importance. Along with energy, it is essential for everyday life. Water provides sustenance, supports industry and irrigates fields. But city administrations are struggling to meet rising demand from growing populations while contending with issues such as water quality, flooding, drought and aging infrastructure.
Water and Wastewater
In keeping with its importance as a center of international trade, Laredo is growing, with a current population of 235,000. Keeping up with the growing number of residents within the city limits and the additional 15,000 in the surrounding county had kept the city of Laredo Utilities Department on its toes. And that was the problem.
Ten years ago, the wastewater treatment plant in Gresham, Oregon was the city’s biggest energy-consumer,. But a lot has changed since then. The plant is now making the same amount of electricity as it consumes in a year, using biosolids from wastewater treatment and fats, oils and grease as well as solar energy to produce power while also reducing energy costs. As a result, the plant now exports excess energy back to the local utility.
San Diego faced a major challenge: It wanted to promote and support water conservation through accurate consumption targeting, tracking and billing, while dealing with the daunting task of working with many local agencies, many different data formats and sources, as well as difficulties getting agency data into a system. There was also the challenge of reaching and educating customers.
The Long Beach, California water department is responsible for keeping the city’s 487,000 residents adequately supplied with clean, good-tasting water. It is also responsible for the safe delivery of wastewater to its nearby sewage treatment facilities. It’s a complex system consisting of nearly 30,000 different data points.
The Royal Commission for Jubail is a special-purpose government agency empowered to develop and operate industrial cities. Council member Bechtel has provided engineering and construction management services to the Royal Commission since its inception in the 1970s.
California Natural Resources Agency manages the state’s natural resources, including water. One of its largest departments is the Department of Water Resources (DWR), with about 3,500 employees. DWR supplies and manages the water delivery systems, provides flood protection through improvement of levees, inspects 1,200 dams and helps coordinate the state’s integrated water management.
The Netherlands is working with Council member IBM to transform flood control and the entire Dutch water system. The need is high. Of the total Dutch population, 66% live in flood-prone areas. More than 4,000 square miles (26% of the country) is below sea level.