Report addresses energy use and GHGs associated with the water and wastewater system
The Climate Registry and Water Energy Innovations Inc. released "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 20% of California's electricity and more than 30% of non-power plant natural gas is used for water-related purposes. While the energy and associated GHGs embedded in 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. The proposals in the paper include the development of GHG accounting guidance specifically for water agencies that addresses the entire water use cycle, from procurement to treatment and discharge.