Watershed Sustainable Water Delivery

Connecting water, electricity and emissions in the Great Lakes Basin

In September 2008, researchers at Wayne State University were awarded a grant from the Great Lakes Protection Fund (GLPF) to develop software that will aid in reducing pollutant air emissions from energy used by water utilities. The project is being carried out in partnership with engineers from the University of Dayton, and the consulting companies Tucker, Young, Jackson, Tull, Inc., and Commonwealth Associates, Inc.

The team has designed a software program that is being used  to model different water transmission and distribution operating scenarios. The software helps to understand how it may be possible to change the timing and distribution of pumping to take advantage of less polluting power sources, while still providing water pressure to meet variable daily demands. The projects aims to answer whether pumping station optimization can cause a significant reduction in energy use and air emissions.

The software is being developed and piloted with two water utilities in Southeast Michigan: the city of Monroe, and the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD). DWSD is one of the largest water utilities in the nation, with annual water withdrawal of ~220 billion gallons and ~300M KW-hours of electricity consumed by high- and low-lift pumps annually.