Engineering firm demonstrates an integrated approach & solutions to water-energy issues
Since 2003, the United Nations (UN) has designated March 22 as World Water Day  (WWD)—a day set aside to raise awareness for water issues and the importance of freshwater sources in developed and developing countries. The theme for 2014 WWD, “Water and Energy” takes it one step further to include two of the world’s most precious and finite resources.
According to the UN, 780 million people lack access to safe drinking water; 2.5 billion go without sanitation; and 1.3 billion people do not have electricity. This year, CH2M Hill is helping to celebrate WWD by building awareness on these pressing issues with an infographic  that demonstrates a sampling of facts around water and energy and how the firm is working with clients to tackle some of the world’s most complex water-energy challenges.
“The water-energy nexus may not be a new phenomenon, but it is one that we are still working to solve,” said Greg McIntyre, CH2M Hill Global Water Market president in his Access Water blog . “On WWD and every day, CH2M Hill is contributing to the solution by identifying ways to address the amounts of energy required to deliver clean water and reduce the water it takes to generate energy.”
The firm is helping municipalities and industries address the water-energy nexus by finding a balance and conserving both precious resources. CH2M Hill developed a suite of Global Water Tools  to assist companies in mapping their water use and assess risk relative to their global operations and supply chain. The firm helped the Empire Generating Power Plant, located in Rennselaer, N.Y. reduce its need for fresh water by up to 7 million gal per day by using a combination of filtration, membrane and ion exchange technologies to supply reclaimed water to cooling towers, evaporative coolers and steam generators. Recently, the firm began development of an innovative energy plan to help Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District achieve energy independence using 100% net renewable energy with 80% of the energy supplied by internal sources.
In addition to working with clients to manage water and energy use, the firm is committed to reducing its own usage—by eliminating bottled water at the company’s Denver headquarters, installing water and energy saving equipment in office buildings, investing in new technologies and partnering with clients to improve water management within its organizations.
CH2M Hill continues to advocate for water sustainability by working with national, regional and local governments and public authorities on public water policies and issues. CH2M Hill is committed to working with people in its communities, as well as around the world, to develop safe, sustainable drinking water systems and to encourage conservation and water reuse.