For Better or Worse: Energy, Water Linked in US

A new report explores the link between water and electricity supplies in the U.S. and outlines a policy agenda that could lead to greater efficiencies for both resources.

As much as 20% of the nation’s electricity goes toward sourcing, moving, treating, heating, collecting, re-treating, and disposing of potable water. Meanwhile, as much as 50% of our  water is used to produce thermoelectric electricity, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. 

A panel of national experts outlined eight action steps that could lead to future economic opportunities and environmental benefits through using energy and water more efficiently.

The experts were jointly convened by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE).

Some of the action steps include: collaborative programs and research; replicating best practices; improving revenue and pricing structures; codes and standards; and education of multiple audiences.

The blueprint strives to learn from the experiences of both the energy and water communities, building on existing policies, programs, and relationships. It also contains a policy agenda that describes the opportunities available for policymakers at every level of government.

"With the publication of this blueprint, the water and energy efficiency communities are committing to work together to achieve the substantial economic and environmental benefits that can result from increased efficiency," says Steven Nadel, Executive Director of ACEEE.

"In simple terms, every drop of water saved, saves energy, and every kilowatt of electricity saved, saves water," said Mary Ann Dickinson, President and CEO of AWE. "The nexus between energy and water has not received the national research and policy attention that it deserves. With this blueprint, we have brought together voices from both the energy and the water communities to outline what now needs to be done."

Future combined efforts will focus on research, policy, codes and standards, and programs that realize the efficiency benefits of looking at water and energy efficiency holistically.

The blueprint lays out paths for progress in each of those areas, providing a concrete challenge to funders, researchers, and program implementers to take the steps necessary to realize the opportunities from collaboration. The joint policy agenda identifies ways the energy and water communities plan to work together as they approach policymakers.

"A Blueprint for Action and Policy Agenda" is available at:

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