Water-Energy Nexus

Water and energy are inextricably linked. Water-related energy use accounts for nearly 20% of the state’s total energy requirements. Similarly, conservation and efficient use of water are essential to meeting the future demand for water in California and the state’s water savings goals. Reducing energy usage is critical to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as required by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Assembly Bill 32). The Water Conservation Act of 2009 (Senate Bill X7-7) requires a 20 percent reduction in per capita urban water use by the year 2020. Yet the existing policy structure only focuses on benefits to the energy sector and presents barriers to implementation of worthwhile Water-Energy nexus programs.  

On May 22, 2013, ORA filed a Petition with the CPUC to open a proceeding to develop a partnership framework between investor owned energy utilities (IOUs) and the water sector to co-fund programs that reduce energy consumption by the water sector in supplying, conveying, treating, and distributing water, and by agricultural and industrial water customers. 

On December 19, 2013, the CPUC issued a Decision granted ORA’s petition to open a new Rulemaking on the Water-Energy Nexus.  


Water-Energy Nexus Rulemaking

CPUC proceeding to explore the important relationship between Water and Energy.  


Tools: Calculator and Avoided Cost Model

Working with stakeholders, the CPUC will develop tools, such as the Water-Energy Calculator and the Avoided Water Capacity Cost Model that water utilities and Energy Efficiency program administrators will use to demonstrate that proposed measures / programs reduce water use and thus save embedded.  



Other Resources

CPUC Water-Energy Nexus Webpage 

Better than the Sum of their Parts: Taking Advantage of the Water-Energy Nexus to Create Dual-Funded Partnership Programs, CPUC White Paper.

California's Water-Energy Relationship, California Energy Commission.