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The Indio Water Authority Implements Advanced Hydraulic Modeling for Pump Energy Model and Cost Savings

The Indio Water Authority Implements Advanced Hydraulic Modeling for Pump Energy Model and Cost Savings

May 20, 2011 - The Challenge: The Indio Water Authority (IWA) operates its main pressure zone as a 'closed-zone' (similar to a hydropneumatic system), and serves nearly 80,000 customers on the edge of the Mojave Desert. There are no elevated tanks in the IWA system, and water must be continuously pumped from wells and boosters to meet demand and maintain adequate service pressure. The closed-zone nature of the system – in combination with unique diurnal water usage patterns that vary significantly by season – create pressure fluctuations throughout the day as pumps cycle to maintain stable system pressures. The IWA is faced with the challenge of managing pumping and energy costs to meet system demands and maintain system pressures within acceptable service criteria.

The Solution:

IDModeling (IDM) was initially selected by the IWA to construct its water system model 1:1 from GIS, and conduct a 24-hr EPS calibration. Following calibration, training, workshops and workflows, internal use of the model for fire flow validations, and planning applications, the IWA retained IDM to use the model as the basis for an Operational Plan. This Plan would leverage the highly-calibrated model to manage pump cycling, and reduce IWA's pumping costs. Successfully addressing these challenges would result in a number of other clear benefits, including increased useful life of facilities and managing system pressure fluctuations by establishing a pump operating plan to serve as a guide for controls and pump sequencing under varying demand conditions.

IDM coordinated with the IWA to select the demand conditions to be used as the basis for an energy costing model. Once the demand scenarios were established, IDM attributed all pumps with the necessary information to establish costing for every hour of pump operations and achieved an energy calibration to within 4% of IWA power bills in some locations, while generally agreeing with other pumping sites well within acceptable tolerances.

Project deliverables are to include the energy-calibrated hydraulic model including recommended controls to reduce energy cost, calculations summarizing projected energy cost savings, technical memorandum, and a operations wall map matrix to include pump on/off controls and estimated VFD speeds for the 3 selected demand conditions.

The final energy model will be a powerful, flexible tool which will allow the IWA to account for future changes in system operations while continuing to optimize its energy use and costs. It is estimated that if this project can reduce pump energy costs by 5% a year for a period of 3 years, it will generate enough savings to pay for this Operational Plan 5 times over.

IWA's WaterGEMS hydraulic model includes approximately 5,000 pipes and 40 pumps, 24 which can serve as variable speed pumps, and 16 fixed-speed pumps.

IDM hydraulic modeling experts have trained thousands of engineers and technical professionals in multiple software platforms across the globe, since 1999. Our team provides a unique support system for engineering, hydraulics, systems operations, hydraulic model software, and training expertise.

Excerpt: 
May 20, 2011 - The Challenge: The Indio Water Authority (IWA) operates its main pressure zone as a 'closed-zone' (similar to a hydropneumatic system), and serves nearly 80,000 customers on the edge of the Mojave Desert.