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Energy-Water Nexus: The Water Sector’s Energy Use

CRS – Energy-Water Nexus: The Water Sector’s Energy Use. Claudia Copeland, Specialist in Resources and Environmental Policy, January 3, 2014

“In the United States, more than 400 billion gallons of water is withdrawn daily from surface and ground water sources of freshwater and saline-water to supply domestic uses, agriculture including irrigation, industry, mining, and thermoelectric power. Information about the energy—especially electricity—that is needed to pump, transport, deliver, and process that water is fragmentary and not well documented overall. In particular, as described further below, energy  needs for self-supplied domestic, industrial, and energy water is largely unknown, but are likely to be large. Interest has been growing in better understanding of the energy-related needs of providing water to diverse sectors of the economy…In every sector, there are opportunities for practices that would save energy and also save water. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense program promotes this concept by emphasizing that “saving water saves energy.”12 Energy efficiency initiatives offer opportunities for delivering significant water savings, and likewise, water efficiency initiatives offer opportunities for delivering significant energy savings. In the commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors, potential water savings through energy efficiency and other measures could be 15-30% without reducing the services derived from the water. The potential for significant water and energy savings also exists in other sectors such as agriculture.”

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