Water and wastewater managers are missing substantial opportunities to save energy and money, according to a report published Wednesday (Sept. 4) by Water in the West, a research center at Stanford University. 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.
The report 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."
The report is organized in two sections: "Energy for Water," which explores energy used by the water and wastewater sectors, and "Water for Energy," which documents water used to generate different forms of energy. It adopts a full life-cycle approach to show the integral relationship between water and energy.
Some key findings of the report:
"Water and Energy Nexus: A Literature Review," can be downloaded here.
About Water in the West
Water in the West is a partnership of the faculty, staff and students of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Bill Lane Center for the American West, both based at Stanford University. The mission of Water in the West is to design, articulate and advance sustainable water management for the people and environment of the American West. It links ideas to action through cutting-edge research, creative problem solving, active collaboration with decision makers and opinion leaders, effective public communications and hands-on education of students.
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