Fortaleza, Brazil

Summary 

The partnership between ASE and CAGECE (the northeast state of Ceara's water utility) resulted in significant increase of water distribution efficiency by the utility, and related energy savings of 88 GWh in energy during 4 years, which translated into $2.5 million in savings per year from $1.1 million USD investment. It allowed connecting to the water system 88,000 homes that did not have access previously. Through the partnership, CAGECE was able to meet state imposed power rationing goals set at reductions of 20% over normal usage.

What is it?

Through the partnership, ASE provided CAGECE with a new automated control system (SCADA), which allows CAGECE to monitor the efficiency of water flow and control distribution in real time. Other efficiency measures included pumping system optimization and installation of high efficiency motors.

How does it work? 

An Operational Control Center monitors a large network of meters and submeters that measure water flow and energy from source to end user.

  • The new system provides complete information on pumping operation in real time
  • Pump operation adjusted automatically as needed to ensure reliable water supply
  • The need for service personnel to visit sites for inspection, data collection or adjustments greatly reduced
  • Alarms sent to the central control location in case of emergency
  • Optimal pressure maintained in the water supply network
  • Service interruptions minimized by stabilizing water pressure and eliminating water hammers
  • Electricity consumption reduced and pump productivity increased
  • Troubleshooting facilitated
  • Equipment life increased
  • Reports generated automatically
  • Flow measurement devices and sonic and acoustic leak detection equipment pinpoint leaks that are deep underground.
  • The system also provides strategic data, making it possible to calculate how much leakage exists in the distribution system.

Other energy efficiency measures, combined with enforced maintenance procedures result in the following:

  • Motors are rewound and replaced on a regular basis
  • Pump systems' efficiency is examined, and inefficient pumps may be replaced or upgraded
  • The new system allows for greater storage capacity of water in preparation for peak demand times. Water is distributed to end users from stored locations so that system does not need to pump water during peak hours and can shut down, thus saving significant amounts of energy.

Next steps

  • Brazilian Association of Water and Energy continues the relationships with CAGECE
  • Energy consulting firm that helped implementing the project at Fortaleza assists the utility management in searching for new ways to expand and improve water service

Application

  • ASE developed a standard approach to combined water and energy efficiency projects and called it Watergy.
  • The partnership was the first such project ASE has undertaken in Brazil. By the present time, ASE have successfully implemented Watergy projects in over 8 cities around the world such as: Veracruz, Mexico; Monclova, Mexico; Hidalgo del Parral, Mexico; Emfuleni, South Africa; Soweto, South Africa; Karnataka, India etc. (see www.watergy.org)
  • Each city is unique so each Watergy solution is different
  • The approach offers not only technical solutions but also innovative approaches to financing municipal energy efficiency projects
  • Watergy approach is very efficient at municipalities that experience large scale water leakage, high energy cost and low level of water service.