Water and Energy Nexus

Michael Brent | Cascade Water Alliance

SUMMARY: A lot of energy is consumed when we utilize water. In this six-minute video, Michael Brent from the Cascade Water Alliance eloquently defines the Water Energy Nexus. He describes the amount of energy expended when moving, treating and using water. Then he shares how simple retrofits in homes can not only reduce water use but energy use as well. Water conservation can significantly strengthen energy conservation efforts. Saving water saves energy and reduces our carbon footprint.

BIO: Michael Brent is the Water Resources Manager for Cascade Water Alliance, a King County drinking water provider serving 350,000 residents and 20,000 businesses east of Lake Washington. He manages the water conservation programs for Cascade's seven cities and water districts, which serve to extend existing water supplies and prepare for a more sustainable tomorrow.

LINKS for Learning More...

Home Water-Energy-Climate Calculator: This online tool called WECalc will help you save water and energy at home by assessing your home water use, water-related energy use and the associated greenhouse gas emissions.

The Alliance for Water Efficiency provides an introduction to the water energy nexus, a case study of the problem and possible solutions.

The Evironmental Protection Agency describes the five stages of the water cycle that utilize energy and provides links to various resources for learning more.

The Connections Between Our Energy and Water: This webpage provided by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) provides a brief overview of the water-energy collision. Then offers ways that we can reduce our water use at the same time we decrease our energy consumption. A cool infographic shows direct home water use vs indirect water use from power plants of a US household. The USC also provides reports and other resources for learning more.

Understanding the Crucial Connection Between Water and Energy: This article posted on Columbia University’s Earth Institute discusses how current policies around the world to reduce energy and water consumption are falling short in the face of limited resources. This article plays the devil's advocate on the search for cheap new energy choices that consume loads of water. Then finishes with down to earth solutions for the water-energy nexus.

Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Go beyond the connection between energy and water to understand how water, energy and food are inextricably linked. This article describes the scarcities predicted in food, energy and water around the world. Then gives us hope by describing how multiple sectors are coming together to solve the issue as one rather than tackling each system individually. Also check out this great infographic on the water-energy-food nexus.

Water and Energy Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities is an overview by US Department of Energy (DOE) on the water-energy nexus, how to understand it and how to address it. Full of interesting graphics including a comprehensive chart of water and energy flows in the US. A great resource for understanding how the DOE plans to tackle the water-energy nexus.

Study on Future Water Needs for Electricity: The Pacific Institute published a study Water for Energy: Future Water Needs for Electricity in the Intermountain West which goes into detail on the amount of water needed for electricity consumption and provides estimates for what this might look like in the future. This in-depth report may be a lot to digest but the table on page 8 showing how different energy sectors consume water, the table on page 33 describing water changes for different regions and the map on page 34 of population changes across the US from 2000-2030 are a must see.