Water-Energy Nexus Study Quantifies Greenhouse Gas and Energy Co-Benefits of Water Conservation
Water-Energy Nexus Explained
The interconnections between water and energy have been coined the “water–energy nexus.” Large volumes of water are required to generate energy – to power turbines in hydro-electric facilities, for cooling in thermal or nuclear energy plants, and to extract oil from tar sands. At the same time, large amounts of energy are required to pump, treat, heat and distribute water for urban, industrial and agricultural use and to collect and treat the resulting wastewater. Together, the two sides of the water-energy nexus are generating new research, policy proposals and public dialogue as society struggles to address the intersecting challenges of climate change, energy security and increasing water scarcity.
An Untapped Opportunity
A recently completed POLIS study, Greenhouse Gas and Energy Co-benefits of Water Conservation, the first of its kind in Canada, suggests a significant untapped opportunity exists for water conservation to reduce energy, save municipal dollars and mitigate Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.
Showering for just 2 minutes less could save the energy equivalent of a 60 W light-bulb running for 12 hours. In energy efficiency terms, a 20% reduction in either shower time or the flow rate of showerhead fixtures, for example from 9.5 Lpm to 7.6 Lpm, could achieve the equivalent energy savings of changing 5 incandescent light-bulbs to compact fluorescent.
“The energy savings associated with pumping 20% less water in 2029 could achieve a whopping 34% of the reported energy reduction potential for Ontario municipalities” (Maas 2009).
Posted April 2009