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Landmark Study Released on Water Supply and Electricity Use in California

California’s Water supply related electrical demand exceeds 2,000 MW on-peak days. That is expected to grow as much as 3500 MW over the next 10 years.

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Electricity and Water Supply in California

A first-of-its-kind study on the amount of electricity used for water supply in California has recently been released. The report, written by Lon W. House, Ph.D., ACWA’s energy consultant, was coordinated by the Demand Response Research Center led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and funded through the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program of the California Energy Commission.

The report, using data from the California Energy Commission and the California investor-owned electric utilities, estimates peak electrical demands related to water supply, including water movement, treatment, and customer use.

The report will be available through the Energy Commission’s website but in the meantime it can be accessed at

Public Interest Energy Research - PIER Program

For more information on the PIER Program, please visit the Commission's Web site at: or contact the Commission's Publications Unit at 916-654-5200.

PIER funding efforts are focused on the following six RD&D program areas:

  • Buildings End-Use Energy Efficiency
  • Industrial/Agricultural/Water End-Use Energy Efficiency
  • Renewable Energy
  • Environmentally-Preferred Advanced Generation
  • Energy-Related Environmental Research
  • Energy Systems Integration

    Energy and Water Supply Report Excerpt

    California’s Water supply related electrical demand exceeds 2,000 MW on-peak days. Agricultural groundwater and surface water pumping are almost 60 percent of the total water supply related peak day electrical demand, with the majority (80%) of this agricultural demand in the PG&E area.

    Water agency demands compose 40 percent of the water supply related peak electrical demands in the state, with the majority of this demand being for fresh water supply. Sewer/wastewater facilities, at least in the southern part of the state, self generate a major portion of the electricity they use. Water agencies in California currently drop almost 25 percent of their electrical demand during the on-peak hours by using storage and alternative pumping schemes, and in response to afternoon reductions in residential water demands.

    Over 500 MW of water agency electrical demand is used for providing water/sewer services to residential water customers. An average residential embedded peak electrical demand intensity is estimated at 1,445 kW/mgal and .06 kW/residence.

    Water related electrical demand is expected to grow by as much as 3500 MW over the next 10 years.

    Prepared By: Lon W. House, Ph.D.
    Water and Energy Consulting
    4901 Flying C Rd,
    Cameron Park, CA 95682
    (530) 676-8956

    Edited by Carolyn Allen
    | water | energy | governance | risk management |


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