In this study, Western Resource Advocates evaluated the revenue-generation potential and the water, electricity, and natural gas savings that public entities can realize using performance contracting in the Colorado River Basin states.

Our key finding is that $859 million in total annual savings are possible for public entities in the seven Colorado River Basin states by using performance contracts. These energy and water efficiency projects would be guaranteed to pay for themselves. Specific components of the savings include the following:

  • Public facilities can save $750 million every year in water and energy bills through efficiency retrofit projects.
  • Water utilities and water treatment plants can save $74 million per year in energy bills.
  • Wastewater treatment plants can save $35 million per year in energy bills.
  • Within ten years, public facilities can save 40,000 acre-feet of water per year, with an additional reduction of 24,000 acre-feet by consumers in the utility service area, providing a total potential water savings of 64,000 acre-feet per year.

In addition, performance contracts can deliver new revenue streams totaling $593 million per year to water utilities in the Basin states by improving water metering and reducing apparent water loss (from customer meter inaccuracies) by 461,000 acre-feet per year. These metering improvements can lay the foundation for municipal drought management and water conservation efforts in the Basin states.

We urge public officials and decision-makers to carefully consider this report and its specific recommendations and strategies to help realize the tremendous resource savings and revenue opportunities that performance contracts can offer public facilities and communities in the Colorado River Basin states.