Purpose and Objective

Due to continued growth in population, extended periods of drought, and climate change, the cost of water and energy production are increasing. The demand-increase conditions present a challenge to both water and energy providers. While designing water systems to deliver safe, reliable, and processed water, the relationship between water and energy are often not considered. This lack of understanding results in system inefficiency, translating directly into higher operational costs.Significant energy resources are required to extract, convey, treat, cool, heat, and deliver water. Water sectors may typically account for as much as 20% of a State’s energy consumption. Reducing water consumption and increasing pumping system efficiencies can have a major impact on:

  • Overall operating and maintenance cost
  • Lowering greenhouse emissions
  • Extending equipment life

The Pump Efficiency Organization, supported by Lincus, Inc., is committed to advancing sustainable use of pumps and pumping systems in Agricultural, Municipal and Industrial systems. This is done through comprehensive pump and pump system analysis, energy and operational efficiency and improvements, as well as an asset management plan based on the condition of existing equipment.

The Pump Efficiency Organization intends to inform and guide pump owners to increasing overall system efficiencies while decreasing water consumption. Our goal is to assist agricultural, municipal, and industrial customers in their pumping systems by educating them through this website. This includes relative and useful information about the many different applicable pumps and system types in the industry. With our pump asset management software, members can also track and store data about their assets in one easy-to-use database program. Through our experience and expertise, we can directly assist customers with improving their overall pumping systems and applying for available utility incentives to help fund your pump systems and applying for applicable utility incentives to help fund these improvement projects.

Water Energy Relationship

Both water and energy resources are heavily interdependent: the production of energy requires considerable amounts of water, and water infrastructures depend on a significant amount of energy input. Indeed, water is required for electricity generation through hydropower and cooling of thermal power plants. On the other hand, a large amount of energy is required to extract, convey, treat and deliver water. The interdependent relationship between these two resources is known as the:

Water Energy Nexus

The concept of Water Energy Nexus can be seen in the urban water life cycle shown in the figure below (parentheses represent the major energy consuming systems in each stage).

The alignment of water and energy production during different time of use periods are vital to understand the interdependencies of both water and energy, yet, currently, the impact of these patterns are not fully appreciated or addressed to the extent that they can benefit both resources.

As shown in the figure above, energy is required at all stages of the water lifecycle; water needs to be pumped from its source to the treatment plant, end-users, and wastewater treatment plant. Therefore, conserving water would result in embedded-energy savings that are needed in pumping water throughout the different stages of its lifecycle. Similarly, saving energy will result in water savings as less water would be required for the cooling processes at power plants. This is a link to a report written by the Congressional Research Service. It is a great resource for more information about the Energy -Water Nexus (CRS Report). In another example, the table below shows the energy intensities for typical water systems in Northern and Southern California. These values provide a basic idea of the amount of energy that can be saved when water is conserved.

Energy Intensities for Typical Water Systems


However, these energy intensity values however vary based on a number of different factors including topography between the water source and its destination, efficiencies of the equipment in the water system and types of treatment required for different water sources.

Efficiency = Savings

Some electric utilities offer pump and pump system energy efficiency programs. Their programs typically apply to all pump owners and operators in developing their operational benchmarks, outlining the available utility rebates and assisting the owners and operators with development of an asset management program. Please contact us or your electric utility to find out if you are eligible to participate in any of their incentive programs. Typically, the pump efficiency program is comprised of two sub-components.

Individual Pump Efficiency

This approach focuses on improving an individual pump’s overall efficiency. By relying on existing pump tests already performed by the owner and operator within the past 24 months (unless new testing is needed due to changes in operations and other factors). The availability of electric utility meter data coupled with the amount of water pumped during that time period can provide pump owners and operators with a more dynamic monitoring of their pump’s OPE compared to a validated benchmark from the existing pump tests. Please refer to the picture below for defining OPE.

Examples of measures used to improve an individual pump’s overall efficiency include:

  • Pump system overhaul – retro-commissioning
  • Installing a variable frequency drive (VFD) on pump’s motor
  • Replacing piping to reduce system head
  • Replacing existing pump with high-efficiency pump
  • Replacing pump’s motor with high-efficiency motor


System Efficiency

Using a holistic approach, the owner and operator can evaluate how a multiple pump system feeding into a single or a multiple distribution zone can be optimized with control strategies, VFDs, sequencing primary and intermediary pumps and optimizing the use of reservoirs and water storage tanks.

While improving individual pump efficiencies, the focus is on a single pump, the focus in system efficiency is how the individual components of the system work as a whole. The following examples of measures can realize substantial operational and energy cost savings:

  • Pump sequencing based on varying system conditions
  • Prioritization/Sequencing based on pumps condition
  • Installing VFDs on strategically located pumps

Together, these two approaches will provide a comprehensive cost reduction and energy-efficiency strategy for a pump’s overall operating system.

Contact us for more information.


Pump Testing

Scheduling regular pump tests is the best way to stay ahead of the curve, as it gives you the concrete data needed to determine what optimization measure is best for you. A pump efficiency test determines your overall system efficiency, electrical motor performance, pump hydraulics, and water well characteristics. The test compares the relationship between energy consumed (kWh) and water flow (GPM) at a given pumping head (feet). The result is a computer-generated report containing the overall efficiency of the pumping plant, which includes the motor, pump assembly, and applicable distribution system.

The results of the pump test are greatly beneficial in evaluating what needs to be done next to lower both operational and maintenance costs. If the pump’s performance is found to fall below industry standards and a replacement or upgrading the equipment is justified, you will receive a cost analysis letter. This letter includes estimates of the capital and operating costs associated with repairs needed or the price of a new system. Issues that may affect tested efficiency are addressed, including motor efficiency, variable speed drives, piping system friction loss, excess pumping pressure, reservoir storage, and energy management.


Water Systems

There are many different systems that primarily move, treat, or process water. A water system is a general term for any system that includes any pipes, pumps, valves, tanks, boilers, chillers, cooling towers and other equipment where water is involved. For example, a public water system provides water for human consumption through pipes or other constructed conveyances, usually delivering the water to residential areas, offices, or anywhere that water is needed. The term “Water Systems” can be broken into many different sub categories to specifically define the systems application.

Agricultural Applications include:

  • Canals
  • Wells
  • Well Pumps
  • Booster Pumps
  • Piping
  • Valves
  • Sprinklers

Industrial and Residential Applications include:

  • HVAC
  • Water Boilers
  • Stream Systems
  • Supply Pumps
  • Circulation Pumps
  • Cooling Plants including:
    • – Chillers
    • – Cooling Towers
    • – Heat Exchangers
    • – Storage Tanks

The water systems can provide washing, heating, cooling, and irrigation. To reduce the costs of all these applications, it is very important to monitor the efficiency of your water systems. Reducing water leakage and increasing pump efficiency are key ways to drive down the cost of many pump system applications.

Pump Stations

A pump station is any facility or system of pumps and equipment used for pumping fluids from one location to another. These can be found in almost all industries and infrastructures including water canals, sewage systems, water drainage, and water processing sites. Pumping stations are needed everywhere, especially when water is pumped directly into the system or when pressure must be increased because there is an insufficient difference in water levels in gravity flow distribution systems. Capital costs can be high for pump stations, but operational costs are most expensive due to the cost of electricity. Therefore, it is very important that pumps have a high degree of efficiency and are properly maintained.

Main pumping stations are located near the water source, such as a treatment facility or a portable water storage facility, usually providing water to a distribution system. Pumps at transmission lines and distribution systems are sometimes called high-lift pumps because of the large pressure or lift that must be added to the movement of the fluid. Booster pumps are additional pumps used to increase pressure locally or temporarily. Booster pumps stations are usually remotely located from the main pump station, as in hilly topography where high-pressure zones are required, or to handle peak flows in a distribution system that can otherwise handle the normal flow requirements.

Electric, gasoline, or diesel engines are commonly used as power sources for pumps at pump stations. The electric motor is, however, the most favored power source because of its reliability and environmental considerations such as cleanliness, relatively low noise, and low pollutant emissions. An electrical pump may also be driven with solar power and require the least amount of maintenance. A typical booster pump station used to help pressurize and distribute water to a system is pictured here. For more information on pump stations, click here for more information.