Commercial businesses in Phoenix can help conserve water by implementing cooling water treatment systems using a program that was recently approved by the city.
Through the grant program, eligible companies will be able to incorporate cooling tower projects into their own buildings and campuses, which could help lower the amount of water needed to cool facilities.
The city’s most recent Climate Action Plan said that cooling towers are one of the city’s highest volume water uses. Water used by cooling towers to remove heat can account for up to half of all water use in some commercial buildings in the Southwest, the 2021 plan said.
On Wednesday, Phoenix City Council unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with New Venture Fund and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation for implementation of its cooling water conservation project.
City documents said the partnership between the city, Bonneville’s Business for Water Stewardship (BWS) and New Venture’s BlueCommons project will be called Blue Bank. The partnership also hopes to establish a rotating loan program for future projects, the city said.
The city will identify companies potentially eligible for the program, while BlueCommons and BWS will provide loans to qualified businesses, according to Phoenix. The city will also review cooling tower project designs, monitor plans, verify and report water savings and promote the program.
The new program is part of the city’s ongoing efforts to recommend and implement potential water conservation programs, one of which was identified as the Cooling Tower Program.
Through this, the city said it will develop an outreach program to educate commercial and industrial businesses about its “successful” large scale water conservation project at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
The city said the large-scale cooling tower water treatment technology pioneered at the airport was the basis of the grant program for cooling towers and that is has saved 31 million gallons of water at one of the terminals since implementation more than three years ago.
By combining a water softening system with a disinfectant generator on the cooling towers at Terminals 3 and 4 and the rental car center, engineers were also able to reduce the amount of chemicals needed to keep pipes clean and increase the number of times water can cycle through the towers before being discarded.
City documents said Phoenix established its Water Conservation Ad Hoc Committee to recommend water conservation programs. In recent years, as water levels continue to drop at Colorado River reservoirs Lake Mead and Lake Powell, Valley cities have moved forward with drought management or water shortage plans.
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