Our current and recent projects on urban water and energy sustainability:
Characterizing the sustainability and embedded energy of the urban water cycle
The urban water cycle does not just include direct fluxes of water; it also requires inputs of indirect or embedded water in resources such as food and energy. Accounting for these indirect and direct fluxes of water and its embedded energy provides opportunities for water and energy benchmarking at the urban scale. Our work provides comparative sustainability analyses of urban environments across the United States.
– C.M. Chini, M. Konar, and A.S. Stillwell. (2017). “Direct and indirect urban water footprints of the United States.” Water Resources Research, 53(1), 316-327.
– C.M. Chini and A.S. Stillwell. (2017). “Where Are All the Data? The Case for a Comprehensive Water and Wastewater Utility Database.” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 143(3), 01816005.
Urban water resource vulnerability of the food-energy-water nexus
The spatial and temporal variability of available water resources strongly influences water stress across the country. Water is not only used for drinking and irrigation, but is also embedded in the supply chains of food, fuel, and electricity. By quantifying the spatial vulnerability of cities’ water resources, we seek to find critical locations of water flows and assist decision makers in resource allocation and policy implementation.
Quantifying the energy-water nexus in the residential sector
An essential component of the urban environment is the residential household. Appliances and fixtures within the home consume water and energy both directly and indirectly. Our work evaluates the
benefits of upgrading to ENERGY STAR or WaterSense appliances in terms of both direct and indirect energy and water savings. This study provides opportunities for conservation programs both at the home and city or utility level.
– C.M. Chini, K.L. Schreiber, Z.A. Barker, and A.S. Stillwell. (2016). “Quantifying Energy and Water Savings in the U.S. Residential Sector.” Environmental Science & Technology, 50(17), 9003-9012.
Sponsor: Siebel Energy Institute
Modeling and prediction of watershed-scale dynamics of water reuse for power plant cooling
Water reuse can be a sustainable solution for areas with significant non-potable water demand. Cooling power plants with reclaimed water is one such sustainable solution, with different benefits and tradeoffs for local and regional water users. In our work regarding water reuse for power plant cooling, we model local and regional watershed-scale dynamics due to consumption of reclaimed water.
– Z.A. Barker and A.S. Stillwell. (2016). “Implications of Transitioning from De Facto to Engineered Water Reuse for Power Plant Cooling.” Environmental Science & Technology, 50(10), 5379-5388. Mentioned in Science.
Sponsor: Illinois Water Resources Center