Understanding the water and energy relationship

Most people who watch the news are aware that we have both energy and water problems in Texas.  What a lot of people may not realize is that these two issues are related and affect the water we use every day and the energy we bring into our homes. 

In order to better understand this relationship, I helped author a new report with the University of Texas Jackson School called Energy-Water Nexus in Texas that was released today. Check out the video below which gives a quick summary of the report’s findings.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/lWNoNu0MpPM" width="375" height="300" wmode="transparent" /]

The truth is that energy and water are related in just about every way you can imagine.  The water supply sector utilizes large amounts of energy to transport, treat, and deliver water.  On the flip side, vast quantities of water are required to generate power.

As Texas continues to grow and pressure increases on our water and energy resources, the linkages between water and energy become more important.  The cycle goes like this: A growing community needs more power, which requires more water, which uses more power, and so on.

Understanding this relationship highlights the importance of conserving water and practicing energy efficiency.  For every kilowatt saved, water is also saved.  For every gallon of water not used, energy demand is reduced. Investments in and incentives for energy and water conservation must be our highest priority.

Texas also needs to better integrate water and energy supply planning for the future.  Check out the report to see our recommendations for steps Texas can take now to create a framework for more collaboration between energy and water planners, improving data on the energy-water relationship and creating incentives for conservation of both resources.

If you’re in the Austin area on April 17, I’ll be giving a presentation on the Energy-Water Nexus at Environmental Defense Fund’s annual water conference, “Water 2.0: New Ideas for a Secure Water Future.” Register and check it out.

Amy Hardberger, Attorney
Environmental Defense Fund

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