Reliable access to adequate water supplies is critical in electric power generation. As a utility located in the desert Southwest, APS understands that responsible management of this vital resource can have a positive impact on the communities we serve as well as the environment. The APS Water Resource Management department is unique among utilities nationwide, due in part to regional water scarcity that has prompted us to take a leadership role in Arizona’s water policy. We are committed to preserving the long-term quality and availability of our water resources and are guided by a strategic plan that promotes effective and sustainable water supplies.
The APS Water Resource Management Strategic Plan includes information to help efficiently manage our water resources portfolio. It helps ensure long-term water supplies and water contingency plans for each of our facilities, even in times of extended drought. Each APS power plant has a unique water strategy, developed to promote efficient and sustainable use of water.
Our usage of reclaimed water is a prime example of a sustainable balance, exemplifying our awareness of the water-energy nexus. A critical asset in our water resource strategy is Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, an internationally recognized leader in the use of reclaimed water for power generation. Thanks in large part to Palo Verde, reclaimed water accounted for 74 percent of the water used in our generating facilities in 2016. This is crucial in Arizona where a non-renewable water resource like groundwater accounts for 40 percent of statewide water use. APS has committed to a long-term goal of reducing groundwater use. In 2016, we reduced groundwater use by 28 percent compared to 2014 usage, far surpassing our goal of 8 percent.
Additional water conservation efforts include retiring older, water-intensive units, upgrading to more water-efficient technologies at existing plants, and increasingly using renewable energy and supporting energy efficiency among our customer base. Over the next 10 years, our goal is to reduce water intensity company-wide by 20 percent compared to a 2014 baseline.