I just read through a great report by Western Resource Advocates and the Environmental Defense Fund about the connection between climate, clean energy, and water in the West. I’d encourage you to check it out, the 4 highlights on the side of the report’s page give a hint at the strong case to be made that in the West, a strong climate bill is a good water policy. I’m reposting those 4 highlights below.
1. Thermoelectric power plants in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah consumed an estimated 292 million gallons of water a day (MGD) in 2005 — approximately equal to the water consumed by Denver, Phoenix, and Albuquerque, combined.
2. In the Colorado River Basin, climate change issues could not be more pressing. The river supplies water to over 30 million people and 1.4 million acres of farmland, but an 11-year drought in the basin has left the two main reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, at only 55% of their total capacity.
3. Since it started its water conservation program in 1994, Albuquerque’s water utility has saved over 136 billion gallons of water and over 1 million tons of carbon dioxide.
4. Xcel Energy has invested heavily in wind power – it now has over 1200 MW of wind power on the ground in Colorado, which saves – each year – approximately 1.6 billion gallons of water.