Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond by Brad Lancaster

Additional Water-Related Information and Resources by Region

The resources on this page were compiled by LeeAnn Lane, an independent researcher. Thank you, LeeAnn!


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1. “Private Sector Considerations in Governing Water & Energy Resources – Can Water Scarcity drive Efficiency in Service Provision and the Development of Renewable Energy Sources?” by Udo Kachel. Paper from Amman-Cologne Symposium The Water & Energy Nexus, Amman, Jordan, 24 January 2011.

Jordan, being one of the most water-scarce countries in the world, in addition has to shoulder the unusual burden of pumping the precious resource from far away sources over hundreds of kilometers (Disi-Amman 330 km) and thousands of meters in elevational difference (Jordan Valley – Amman 1,300 m) to the major urban consumption centers.  These very specific conditions result in a staggering 17% of the national energy production being used for pumping water.

Link to other presentations given at “Energy and Energy Nexus” Symposium in Amman, 24 January , 2011:

Presentations available online include:

Jakob Granit, Project Director – Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)

Mohammed Al-Momani, MWI – Ministry of Water & Irrigation

Dieter Rothenberger, GIZ – Gesellschaft für Internationale

Abdel Fattah Alnsour, Central Electrical Generation Company

2. “Water and Energy,” posted 20 January 2010, EcoMENA Community website
(article no longer available online)

70% of available fresh water in Jordan is used for agriculture

3. “Saving Jordan’s dwindling water resources,” posted 18 May 2010, Deutsche Welle website.

With an annual allotment of just 180 cubic meters of water per person, Jordan is considered to have one of the highest rates of water shortages in the world.

Until the 1930s, the Jordan River was a 65-meter (213 foot) wide waterway. Today, in some places all that’s left is a muddy trickle, according to the non-governmental organization Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME).

The group says the river has “turned into a simple stream, dried out because of the extreme use of water and ruined due to pollution.”

The high water salinity has led to the disappearance of trees such as the poplar and willow, and animal species such as the otter. It’s estimated that the region has lost half of its biodiversity.

Water-intensive agricultural practices (for example, banana plantations) are damaging the fragile water supply — farmers use a large part of the available supply to irrigate their fields, but only contribute a small part towards boosting the country’s economy.

Water from the Jordan Valley, which lies below sea level, needs to be pumped over a height of 1,000 meters to be transported into the capital Amman. That requires a huge amount of energy. Most of the pumps used for the purpose are outdated and decrepit.

That makes the Jordanian water authority not just one of the largest electricity consumers in the country, but also a major polluter, as the electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels.


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Los Angeles

Information presented in plain text was taken directly from the noted source.
Information presented in italics is commentary or extrapolations of the researcher.

1. LADWP Quick facts:

Water service connections: 716,531
Electric service only connections: 926,963

LADWP-estimated average annual residential consumption per customer: 6182 kWh

From elsewhere on LADWP website: LADWP is the largest municipal utility in the nation.

2. Annual GPCD data for LADWP:

Average daily use per capita (years ending June 30)

2009 — 126.5 gallons
2008 — 134 gallons

3a. 2010 Urban Water Management Plan (Draft):

Section 2-2

In 1989-90, per capita water use was 173 gallons per day (gpd).

By 1999-00, per capita water use fell to 159 gpd (or a 10 percent [actually, 8%] reduction from 1990).

In 2009-10, per capita water use is estimated to be 117 gpd. It is important to note that mandatory conservation and a severe economic recession were occurring at this time.

Section 3-5

Ten-year average based on calendar year ending between 12/31/04 and 12/31/10 — 154 gpcd

Five-year average based on calendar year ending between 12/31/07 and 12/31/10 — 146 gpcd

[This resource does not state the exact years for the data collected, just that the period “ends” between those given years. It is possible that, like other CA utilities, LADWP is using methods that yield higher gpcd data to use as a starting point in order to ease the pressure on itself as it strives to meet the 20% mandated reduction in gpcd by 2020. If it were to use 117 gpcd as a starting point, it would have to bring its gpcd down to about 94 by 2020, rather than the 123 gpcd that would otherwise be required.]

Chapter 12, Exhibit 12J

LADWP Energy Intensity (2009)
Energy Intensity = 1934 kWh/AF
Total Volume Delivered = 562,480 AF

[This information is also shown on p. 265 of the final report (see resource 3b below).]

Therefore, the grand total of LADWP’s water-related energy consumption in 2009 was 1,087,836,320 kWh.

California’s Residential Average Monthly Consumption = 587 kWh
(per www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/esr/table5.html)

[Or 7,044 kWh per year, slightly higher than LADWP’s figure, above]

Taking the calculation one step further:

Total LADWP water-related energy consumption in 2009 is equal to the approximate kWh consumption of 155,316 average CA homes.

3b. Another link to the 2010 Urban Water Management Plan: media.scpr.org/documents/2011/05/06/ladwp014280.pdf
(This seems to be the final version, as it is preceded by a Board Approval Letter, dated April 14, 2011. It came from a southern CA Public Radio website (this final version was not easily found on the LADWP website).)

Exhibit 12L (p 267 of final report)

CO2 produced in association with the 562,480 AF of water delivered by LADWP in 2009 is 433,698 tons.

[This report contains lots more great info! For example, check out the energy supply map on page 261.]

Santa Barbara

“2010 Energy Report” put out by the City of Santa Barbara

There are simple charts and information provided by the City. This section in particular gives more information of the energy costs of water and acknowledges the water-energy nexus:
“In Fiscal Year 2010 (July 2009 through June 2010) the City spent $3.2 million on electricity.  40 percent of electrical use was for treatment of water and wastewater at the City‘s treatment facilities and pumping stations.  Staff is planning to improve local water quality by installing ozone water treatment at the Cater Water Treatment Plant beginning in 2012.  This will be a benefit to the community by improving drinking water quality, but will significantly increase energy use by the plant.  This is a good example that community water conservation not only saves water, but saves significant embodied energy used to treat and deliver water too!”

Santa Cruz

Per Bill Kocher, Director of the Santa Cruz Water Department, via phone on June 22, 2011:

10-year average (1998-2007) kWh usage to bring water into Santa Cruz from its source, treat it, and deliver to tanks that then gravity-feed to end users: 6,769,223 kWh
10-year average annual number of gallons of water: 4,099,000,000 gallons (4.1 billion gallons)

2007 kWh usage to bring water into Santa Cruz from its source, treat it, and deliver to tanks that then gravity-feed to end users: 7,479,473 kWh
2007 annual number of gallons of water: 3,776,000,000 gallons (3.8 billion gallons)

[Note that while water usage in 2007 was lower than the 10-year average, kWh usage in 2007 to pump & treat water was higher than the 10-year average.]

[Combining this information with data from census.gov, which tells us that (average 2005-09) there were 21,761 occupied dwelling units in Santa Cruz, and data from eia.gov that states that in 2009 the average CA home used 587 kWh/month (therefore 7,044 kWh/year), we can calculate that in 2007 the City of Santa Cruz’s water-related kWh usage could have powered 1,062 average CA homes, which is 4.9% of the number of homes (occupied dwelling units) in Santa Cruz.]


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Las Vegas

1.  Southern Nevada Water Authority website


“Southern Nevada gets nearly 90 percent of its water from the Colorado River. The other 10 percent of [its] water comes from groundwater that is pumped out through existing wells within Clark County.”

The water district generates 80 percent of its own power at renewable-energy- and fossil-fuel-powered power plants.

2.  EXCELLENT report – Hidden Oasis: Water Conservation and Efficiency in Las Vegas  (11/2007)


Report highlights:

Water agencies in the Las Vegas Valley have failed to prioritize measures that improve indoor water-use efficiency, because these agencies earn return flow credits for wastewater returned to the Colorado River. (See p 15 for more information on return flow credits.)

Southern Nevada Water Portfolio (sources by percent, p 16):
86% Colorado River
10% ground water
4% recycled water

Water use by sector (2004 data, p 18):
40% single family residences
14% multi-family residences
14% commercial/industrial
7% resorts
7% golf courses
18% other

Per report, the average Las Vegas Valley resident uses 100 gallons of water outdoors each day (p 26).

Single-family residence indoor/outdoor use comparison (see p 27)

For example, Las Vegas: 65 gallons indoor/100 outdoor per person per day
Tucson: 57/57
Southern California: 62/63

Read the full report for much more information.

3.  Great article on water/energy for southern Nevada


Article highlights:

The energy used to pump and treat water in the Las Vegas Valley dwarfs any other type of local electric consumption.

Southern Nevada used about 853.8 million kWh of electricity in 2008 to move 439,187 acre-feet of water into valley homes and businesses, according the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Another 119.2 million kWh of electricity was used that year to treat 22,501 acre-feet of water and send it back to the lake.

Southern Nevada used 2,107 kWh per acre-foot (325,851 gallons) of water delivered, treated and sent back to the lake last year. Nationally, most agencies use between 652 and 6,517 kWh per acre-foot, according to Lisa Maddaus, a senior engineer with environmental engineering firm Brown and Caldwell.

4.  Water use, from Clark County website:


  • Residential: 65% (of that, 75% is used outdoors, primarily for landscaping)
  • Southern Nevada hotel use: 7%

5.  Article on hotel water use from the Las Vegas Review-Journal  (2004)

Battling the Drought: The water use myth


Article highlights:

  • local hotels use approximately 7% of total area water use
  • 80% of this water is recycled back into the system, treated and sent back to Lake Mead
  • 20% of hotel water use is for landscaping and cooling towers

2003 graphic on total use and use per room for local hotel/casinos



MGM Grand             473,435,000 total gal/yr            94,600 gal/per year/per room

Rio                        265,984,000                                145,000

Circus Circus            193,256,000                                 51,600

Sunset Station          159,142,000                                 346,000

6.  Greywater use opposition – News articles April 2009


A bill that would have allowed greywater use died in legislation April 2009.

The proposal in the Legislature ran into stiff opposition from the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which expressed concerns about a number of serious issues — from the cleanliness of greywater to what it could do to Southern Nevada’s water supply.

“The quality of graywater is very, very, very low,” water authority spokesman Bronson Mack said. “Just look at the back of your shampoo bottle or what’s in laundry detergent.” [Editor’s note: The quality of greywater is largely dependent on the soaps and detergents used. To see additional information on greywater quality and appropriate soaps for use in greywater systems, click the link to download Art Ludwig’s Greywater Sources, Qualities, and Quantities chart, visit Art’s website at oasisdesign.net, or buy the greywater bible this chart comes from.]

“Beyond that, as Alexandra Berzon reported in Monday’s Las Vegas Sun, greywater plays an important role in the water authority’s plans.

“In the Las Vegas Valley, used indoor water runs into the sewer system, is treated and then is returned to Lake Mead through the Las Vegas Wash. Under federal regulations, the authority receives 300,000 acre-feet of water from the lake each year, but it is able to draw more water in exchange for returning water to the lake. Through such return-flow credits and water reuse programs, the authority has been able to take 70 percent more water than its annual allocation.”

Another article on greywater: www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009/apr/13/authority-opposes-recycling-homes/

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THE UMBRELLA: A catch-all of resources, events, media, and more from Brad Lancaster In this time of Covid-19 and spending more time at home to be safe, I’ve been grateful for the solace, inspiration, and bountiful sustenance my water-harvesting gardens, landscape, and neighborhood forest has provided me, my family, friends, and neighbors. Record summer heat […]

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