California’s Water-Energy-Climate Nexus

White paper establishes new framework for addressing the climate impacts of California’s water systems


October 15, 2013

Los Angeles, CA

The Climate Registry and Water Energy Innovations today announced the release of a white paper, California’s Water-Energy-Climate Nexus: Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Embedded in Water, which proposes a framework for measuring and addressing the energy use and greenhouse gases (GHGs) associated with California’s water and wastewater systems.

The California Energy Commission established that California water agencies use substantial quantities of energy to provide high-quality water to consumers: nearly twenty percent of California’s electricity and more than thirty percent of non-power plant natural gas is used for water-related purposes. While the energy and associated GHGs embedded in our water and wastewater systems contribute to climate change, these same systems are also particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts. Water agencies could experience higher infrastructure and energy costs, and be required to invest in new water resources; consumers could face lower water quality and higher costs.

“Connecting the dots between water, GHGs and energy is essential if we’re going to reduce the climate impacts of our water systems,” said David Rosenheim, Executive Director of The Climate Registry. “Providing water agencies with the tools and resources to accurately and consistently account for their energy use and GHGs will help guide infrastructure investments, encourage consumers to conserve water and energy, and help us build more resilient and energy-efficient water agency operations.”

“California has already recognized that reducing water-related energy consumption and the associated GHGs is a key strategy for meeting its climate goals,” said Frances Spivy-Weber, vice chair of the State Water Resources Control Board and co-chair of the multi-agency WET-CAT. “This paper outlines a pathway for how we get there.”

Download the paper here

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