Transporting, treating and storing water takes a lot of energy.
In California approximately 20% of the electricity we generate is used to transport, treat, and store water. The more water we use to water our plants, clean our clothing, or wash our dishes, the more energy needs to be used to transport, treat, and store that water. By reducing through conservation programs the amount of water used California will use less energy on water. By reducing energy costs water agencies save money which reduces water costs and potentially customer water bills. Using less electricity for water also has the potential to lessen the burning of fossil fuels and could help reduce greenhouse emissions, and lower overall power system load.
What is being done about this?
UCAN is currently participating in a California Public Utilities Commission [CPUC] action which aims to reduce the amount of energy needed by funding conservation programs that save energy by saving water. Through this process the Commission is looking at ways to value the embedded energy in water. Based on this valuation, they can develop a tool to evaluate how much energy a given water conservation program would save. By conserving water, less energy would be needed to transport, treat and store water which results in saving both water and electricity. Through this process, the CPUC will establish a framework by which water and electric utilities will jointly fund water/energy efficiency programs.
UCAN was one of the original supporters of this rulemaking.