Techno-economic analysis of the water, energy, and greenhouse gas emissions impacts from the adoption of water efficiency practices in the U.S. manufacturing sector
Water is a critical resource for all of manufacturing. As such, mitigating risks to the supply of water to manufacturing plants facilitates maintaining a vital manufacturing sector. Reductions in water use through water efficiency is one method for mitigating risk, however little is known about its potential in the United States (U.S.) manufacturing sector. Herein, we address this gap and calculate the water reduction potential in U.S. manufacturing from commercially available water efficiency opportunities specific to the manufacturing sector. A list of water efficiency measures specific to the manufacturing sector is compiled and applied to estimates of U.S. manufacturing water withdrawals. The energy and carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emission impacts from implementation of these measures are also quantified to better inform the resource, environmental, and economic trade-offs from implementation of these measures. We find that the water savings potential from the evaluated measures is up to 60 percent of U.S. manufacturing water withdrawal for certain subsectors, with the energy and emissions impact dependent on the measure. Further, we calculate the levelized cost of conserved water for several water efficiency measures (-$4,000 to $85/thousand m3, where negative values indicate net cost savings and positive values indicate net cost expenditures) and compare them to the levelized cost of alternative water sources ($600 to $3,400/thousand m3). The results show significant opportunities for water and energy use reductions at levelized costs at least one order of magnitude lower than alternative water supplies, with some being revenue-generating.