Syzergy Launches the California Water-Energy Update

Syzergy Launches the California Water-Energy Update

The Water-Energy Nexus is becoming a hot topic throughout the U.S., but nowhere is it more urgent than in California where all water and energy stakeholders are contending with one of the driest years on record.

  • January 17th – Governor Brown declared Drought State of Emergency
  • March 1st – Governor Brown signed drought legislation to assist drought-affected communities and provide funding to better use local water supplies
  • April 25th – Governor Brown issued Executive Order to redouble state drought actions
  • July 15th – State Water Board approved emergency regulation to assure compliance with water rights curtailment orders

These are just a handful of the urgent actions that the state of California has taken so far this year to mitigate the adverse public health and economic impacts of drought.  Every state agency is playing a role – whether it is to promote conservation, or to provide technical and/or financial assistance to individuals and businesses impacted by the drought.

If the issue is one of water scarcity and the need to conserve water, why, then, is it a “water-energy nexus” opportunity?

On July 1st, Commissioner Catherine Sandoval issued a Preliminary Scoping Memorandum that puts drought mitigation front and center in the California Public Utility’s water-energy nexus regulatory rulemaking.

I want to explore what immediate-term, mid-term, and long-term actions the Commission can take to address the water-energy nexus and promote conservation in light of both the current drought and future climate challenges. To this end, we must coordinate efforts amongst several Commission divisions; bring our best ideas to the table; break silos; and work together. The water-energy nexus provides an opportunity for just this sort of coordinated effort.

The basis for bringing drought mitigation into the CPUC’s water-energy nexus rulemaking is to enable near-term drought mitigation assistance from regulated energy utilities by authorizing technical and financial assistance for measures that save energy by saving water.  This fundamental precept – the realization that energy can be saved by saving water – is at the crux of California’s water-energy nexus, where it is widely known that substantial quantities of energy are used to produce and move water throughout the state.  Consequently, it stands to reason that substantial quantities of energy could be saved by saving water.

Syzergy will be following the CPUC and other important water-energy nexus policy forums throughout California to bring timely information to both water and energy stakeholders about California’s water-energy initiative.  In addition to reporting on emerging water-energy policies and programs, Syzergy will show how you can participate in these important dialogues.

Stay tuned for updates!

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