The Water-Energy Nexus is becoming a hot topic throughout the U.S.; but nowhere has it been more urgent than in California where three consecutive dry years, one of which was the third driest in 119 years of recorded hydrological history, have reduced California’s surface and groundwater supplies to critical levels. As a consequence, drought mitigation dominated California’s water-energy dialogue last year and is expected to remain a very high priority until the state’s water supplies are restored to pre-drought levels.
Many state agencies have important roles – whether it is to promote conservation, or to provide technical and/or financial assistance to individuals and businesses impacted by the drought. And every individual and organization has an important role in implementing the drought mitigation strategies that are being developed by multiple parties throughout the state.
If the issue is one of water scarcity and the need to conserve water, why, then, is it a “water-energy nexus” opportunity?
The basis for bringing drought mitigation into energy agencies’ programs was to enable near-term drought mitigation assistance from projects and measures that save energy by saving water. This fundamental precept – the realization that energy can be saved by saving water – is at the crux of California’s water-energy nexus, where it is widely known that substantial quantities of energy are used to produce and move water throughout the state. Consequently, it stands to reason that substantial quantities of energy can be saved by saving water. An additional benefit: greenhouse gas emissions are also reduced, when water-related energy consumption is reduced.
The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) maintains a Bond Accountability Site for the California Water Bond (Proposition 1) that contains current information about the status of various funding programs.
California Drought Update
Multiple sites are keeping a pulse on California’s water situation.
A Chronology of California’s Water-Energy Initiative can be found here
See the Role of State Agencies here