Webinar: The Water-Energy Nexus – Driving Equitable Climate Solutions

There is a strong link, often referred to as the water-energy nexus, between water, energy, and the climate crisis. Reducing energy demand — and thereby reliance on fossil fuels — is necessary to drive the clean energy transition forward. Better water management can play a key role in driving down energy demand and its associated climate pollution. Join us to hear from a diverse set of speakers who will discuss how climate change is exacerbating the impacts of California water mismanagement on vulnerable communities. This webinar will also address how the state, local governments, community choice agencies, water agencies, and the private sector must work together to holistically address interrelated water, energy, climate, and equity challenges. Speakers are listed below.

Other Resources:
More information

Extreme drought in California is a reminder of the need to address the climate crisis by reducing climate pollution at speed and scale. It’s also a reckoning for California to better integrate water and energy management with the goal of equitable climate resilience for communities across the state.

Climate change exacerbates the impacts of more than a century of water resource management that continues to prioritize the profits of large agricultural producers over the basic needs of families. Longer and warmer droughts reduce the amount of water available from rivers, streams, and reservoirs for agricultural producers, who in turn pump California’s groundwater at unsustainable rates, especially in critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley. More than 1 million Californians still lack access to clean drinking water, yet many are faced with astronomical rate increases during dry years that are becoming more common with climate change. 

Extreme heat is one example of a pressing climate impact that creates feedback challenges for both energy and water management. It’s also a growing threat to lives and livelihoods across the state, especially for vulnerable communities. Longer periods of extreme heat, which often coincide with drought, could lead to increases in water and energy consumption in both urban and rural communities, especially those that are dependent on energy-intensive groundwater pumping for agriculture. For example, an increase in pumping due to warmer temperatures, which both reduce water supply and make crops thirstier, could threaten grid reliability as people  try to keep their homes cool. 

As we phase out water-intensive fossil fuels and ramp up nature-based solutions that allow soils to retain more carbon and water, we should be helping communities become more resilient to localized climate change impacts. We must tap opportunities that are equitable, climate-resilient, and cost-effective.Reducing energy demand and the need for polluting fossil fuel plants will be pivotal as we transition to clean, less water-intensive energy sources like solar and wind. Better water management can play a key role in driving down energy demand and its associated climate pollution. How do we know this? Multiple UC Davis studies have shown water conservation efforts and water efficiency programs are reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than energy efficiency programs are at similar costs. We can also look to the many California communities who have dramatically reduced the amount of water needed for indoor and outdoor use as leaders on this journey to saving more water and energy across the state.