Missed Opportunities to Conserve Energy and Water

According to a report published in early September by Water in the West, a research center at Stanford University, water and wastewater managers are missing substantial opportunities to save energy and money. The report, "Water and Energy Nexus: A Literature Review," also identifies the amount of water used to extract resources such as natural gas, oil and coal, and to generate electricity. The report finds, "robust opportunities for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as for the conservation of scarce water resources, coupled with the potential for generating significant new renewable energy resources," according to co-author Cynthia Truelove, a visiting scholar with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Further, it is a comprehensive survey of publications by the academic, government and nonprofit sectors between 1990 and 2013 that analyzes policy, along with scientific and technical research, on the connections between water and energy. "This report summarizes the tremendous breadth and depth of research and analysis that have explored the interrelationship between water and energy," said Andrew Fahlund, executive director of Water in the West. "Nevertheless, it also points out a number of significant gaps in our understanding of the nexus of water and energy and points to important needs for future study."