Water / Energy
Water & Energy
Water and energy are basic needs of civilization. Our use of each relies on and affects the availability of the other, and, as populations grow, our demand for both will continue to increase at accelerating rates. Water and energy issues are inseparable, and we cannot address groundwater protection and availability without a keen focus on energy production and use.
This water-energy “nexus” is now being understood within the broader context of “sustainability.” As a society we have the daunting job of seeking ways to sustainably manage our current water supply so we are able to meet both present and future water needs. This is not a job that we can postpone until tomorrow.
Our planet’s water and energy resources are abundant; however, water and energy supplies are often not available in the quantity and quality needed, at the location and times we need them for the different ways we want to use them…and at prices that are affordable. As a nation, we have a challenge, not to mention an urgent mandate to work toward sustainable resource planning and management approaches in a coordinated and collaborative fashion. An important step toward accomplishing this is to improve our understanding of the various issues, roles, and perspectives on water and energy from the industries, agencies, and other stakeholders that manage these resources.
In order to provide water and energy for their constituents, state and local officials must lay out clear and informed choices that lead to appropriate laws and practices that will ensure water and energy sustainability. While there has been considerable research on energy needs for the future, we know little about how much water it will take to meet these needs and if that water will be available for energy production without impacting other beneficial uses.