Effects of system size on the sustainability of water supply infrastructure
Hester, Nathan Andrew
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In water supply systems, capital costs are often the primary factor in design selection. However, due to increasing energy prices and a growing concern for the environment, increased attention to operational energy consumption has become a central issue. This research evaluates the economic and environmental impacts of water supply systems of varying size. This study found that total life cycle costs are dominated by drinking water treatment and the economies of scale provide that the unit life cycle cost is decreased from $0.82/m3 to $0.42/m3 from the smallest to largest systems. However, unit distribution system capital costs were found to increase with system size, and unit pumping-energy requirements also increased from 0.15 kWh/m3 to 0.24 kWh/m3. While the total unit cost of water was found to decrease with system size, this trend may be reversed through a more complete representation of the distribution system.