Heather Cooley discusses The Nexus of Water, Energy and Climate.
We hear a great deal about the world's challenges with energy, climate change and the shortage of good quality fresh water. Come learn about the important interconnections among these subjects and how by solving any of these problems, we can help solve the others as well- The Commonwealth Club of California
Heather Cooley is a Senior Research Associate with the Pacific Institute's Water and Sustainability Program. Ms. Cooley's research interests include water privatization, California water issues, environmental justice, and climate change.
Ms. Cooley holds a B.S. in Molecular Environmental Biology with an emphasis in Ecology from UC Berkeley and an M.S. in Energy and Resources from UC Berkeley. Prior to coming to the Pacific Institute, Ms. Cooley worked at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory studying climate and land use change, and carbon cycling.
I am Cary Curtis, Chair of the Club's Environment and Natural Resource Forum and Heather Cooley, asenior research associated with the Pacific institutes of water and sustainability program which spansthe entire month of August. We have 23 events -- November 13th so we have just just passed half theway. Tomorrow we have two events at noon in this room, there is a panel discussion entitled keepingKatrina out of California featuring a number of experts on water control you know, flood control andso forth from both the perspective of ecology and water supply and public policy that should be thatshould be good and and then tomorrow evening out in Lafayette at the Bentley School we have asimilar or a related program called Is that the Delta Doomed.The sustainability of the Sacramento San Joaquin delta and the Peripheral Canal featuring speakersform various points of view. All of the events in the series can be found in the Common WealthMagazine which is available out front or online at commonwealthclub.org where you make a registerfor any of these programs or any Common Wealth Club program. You may also register by calling theclub's 24 Hour reservation line, the number is in the magazine. This series of events has beenorganized by the club's member led forums under the leadership of the Karl Fleming who couldn't behere today. Each of the club's forums has organized at least one event in the series.We are fortunate to receive generous grants from the David and Lucile Packard foundation and theRichard and Rhoda Goldman foundation and these guest have enabled us to reduce the price for theseevents including today. We are particularly pleased to be associated in this whole series with thePacific institute of Oakland which is observing its 20th anniversary this year. Peter Glick and Ian Harthave been extremely helpful in organizing both the overall series frame work as well as several of theevents like this one for example.The Pacific Institute publishes an influential series on various aspects of the fresh water outlook. Someof these publications are available out front. I would like to mention one special publication inparticular and that is this book which was written by the key knot -- one of our key knot speakers onsecond of August, Gilbert Garside and that we have copies out front there is for sale their autographby Mr. Garside, who by the way was the supervising district attorney of Los Angeles County in the OJSimpson trial so, they has no bearing on this at all I just cant find it constantly fascinating that sothis book is $150 but 100 percent of the purchases goes to water projects in West Africa.So your your purchase of the book is actually a charitable contribution. I am going to treat 100percent of the of my purchase as a charitable contribution but you should consult your own taxadvisor if you do that and we have various other books available this one and that which I think isfree and and other materials that are here about water all of the events in the series are available inthe update magazine now which now covers through the end of September so, this this event isgoing to be broadcasted on KQED Radio on September 13th, Thursday at 8 pm therefore we are goingto take questions from the audience on written cards today and as usual I am going to ask you to turnoff the ringers on your cell phone or set them to stun or something and camera in the back of theroom is from Fora dot TV which is something like the C-span of the internet so this event will be onthe internet if you want to watch it a second time Fora dot TV.All right so I am going to open the program officially for the radio Hello and welcome to today'smeeting of the Common Wealth Club of California, I am Cary Curtis, Chair of the Club's Environmentand Natural Resources forum and your chair for this evening's program we also welcome our listenerson the radio and we invite our audience to visit us on the internet at commonwealthclub.org and now itis my pleasure to introduce our speaker for the day Heather Cooley is the senior research associate withthe Pacific Institute's Water and Sustainability Program. Miss Cooley's research interest include waterprivatization, California water issues, environmental justice and climate change Miss Cooley holds aBS in molecular environmental biology with an emphasis in ecology from UC Berkeley and an MS inenergy and resources from UC Berkeley. Prior to coming to the pacific institute, Miss. Cooley workedat Lawrence Berkley labs studying climate and land use change and carbon cycling. Now, Heather Cooley.Thank you Kerry and I would like to thank the commonwealth club for inviting me here today. It's apleasure to be here. Upon hearing the terms water and energy, most people immediately think ofhydropower. And well, hydro electric generation certainly uses water the connections between waterand energy are much more complex than most people realize. Water and energy are linked in veryimportant ways. We use water to produce all forms of energy. We use water to mine uranium and coal.We also use a tremendous amount of water to absorb the heat that is produced as the byproduct ofhydroelectric generation and in 2000, nearly 40 percent of all fresh water withdrawals in the UnitedStates were for cooling thermal electric plants. We also use water to produce solar panels and to clean wind turbines.Energy production also pollutes water, discharging cooling water increases the temperature of thereceiving water and composes stresses for the aquatic organisms. In addition mine tailings often arehigh in heavy metals and are often highly acidic. Inadequate disposal continues to pollute streamsthrough out the west. But in addition, most energy production contributes the climate change. And thiswill have a tremendous impact on both water availability and management. As temperatures warm inCalifornia we will see our snow pack decrease. More precipitation, more fall as rainfall and much moresnow pack will melt earlier and so we will likely see large and broad scale changes and how we need tomanage water. But unless recognized connection the one that I really want to focus on today, is thatwater management uses a substantial amount of energy particularly in California.So despite these many connections, water and energy issues are rarely considered together. Both haveboth personal and the policy level. However concerns about water scarcity, population growth andclimate change, are really forcing us to rethink how we manage water and the relationship betweenthese very important resources.California has developed an extensive infrastructure network, to transport water, where and when it isneeded - to where and when it's available excuse me to where and when it's needed. Annualprecipitation in California ranges from two to 160 inches per year. And much of that precipitation isfocused is centered around the north and sharing about the mountains, however our population isreally based in southern California and along the coast. In addition, the vast majority of theprecipitation falls during the winter or it's demand is generally higher during the fall in the summer.And to make things even more interesting, California climate is subjected to periodic droughts orextended droughts punctuated by occasion of the periodic floods.So in response the federal, state and local governments have invested a substantial amount of money tomove water around California. We have a number of federal projects, one being the Central ValleyProject. The Central Valley Project was built beginning in about 1937 and consists of 20 dams andreservoirs located through out the state consists of numerous power plants and 500 miles of majorcanals. This system transports water from the Trinity, the Sacramento, the American, the Stanislaus, theSan Joaquin rivers and transports to that to farms and communities in the central valley and urban areasaround the San Francisco bay.California is also homed to a large state projects. The State Water Project transports an estimated fourmillion acre-feet per year. The water is taken out of the delta at Tracy, is transported some of that wateris delivered to communities in the San Francisco bay. Much of it though continue salt through thecentral valley, another branch goes off delivering some water to the central coast, but the vast majorityof it is lifted nearly 2000 feet up and over the Tehachapi mountains at the southern part of the SanJoaquin basin. This is the single largest lift of in the world. This water then cascades down theTehachapi, some of that energy is recovered and then the water is then delivered to communitiesthrough out the Loss Angeles area.The state water project is the largest consumer of electricity in the state accounting for two to threepercent of all electricity consume in California. And in total the state water project consumes fivebillion kilowatt hours of electricity per year which is equivalent to about a quarter of New Mexico'stotal electricity use in 2004, this is an extremely energy consuming project. We have also constructedwater system funded with local money, including the HHE reservoir here, I am supplying water to SanFrancisco and the communities throughout the bay.This system takes water from the Ptolemy River, transports it across the central valley we have alsobuilt Mokelumne aqueduct providing water for the east bay east bay area, the Los-Angeles aqueductwhich diverts water from the Owens river and the Mono basin moves water down through to LosAngeles. So in total, we have built a very vast network to move water and well some of these systemslike the central valley project or HHE actually produced rely and gravity and actually produced someenergy the majority including the state water project in the Colorado River are net energy consumers.So this movement of water, this vast movement of water has created tremendous differences in theenergy intensity of various water supply sources. So communities rely on both imported water, groundwater and small amounts of recycled water and desalination. But the energy intensity of these watersupply sources varies tremendously, so in Santiago for example the state water projects uses about10,000 kilo watt hours per million gallons. The Colorado River aqueduct is a a little bit better butboth are - use substantial amounts of energy.In comparison with local ground water, the energy intensity of that is about 17,00 kilo watt hours permillion gallons of water and recycled water is even less than that. But capturing and conveying water isnot the only way we use energy throughout the water cycle. Every step along the way from capturingand conveying to treating distributing and treating our waste water uses energy. We use energy to treatwater water is treated to drinking water standards through a variety of processes that require energyincluding filtration, sedimentation, flocculation, disinfection and increasingly reusing ozonation whichis even more energy intensive. And over over the years as as we are developing kind of stricterwater quality standards the energy used just for this process will also likely increase. This treated watermust then be delivered from the water treatment plant to the customer, in some cases this is done by theforce of gravity but in other cases it requires a tremendous amount of of energy to pump andpressurize that water to get it to customers. The end user then uses energy to heat, cool, purify andpump water. We uses energy to heat water for our showers or to clean our dishes, in some cases we useenergy to purify water for various industrial process and we use energy to pump water in to high-risebuildings or in the hospitals. After we use water water that is used indoors must then be transportedto a waste water treatment plant where it undergoes additional processing all of which requires energy.After being processed waste water treatment plant some of that water is further processed anddistributed back in to the distribution system but the vast majority of it is returned to the environmenteither through gravity or through pumping. So in total in this entire process the California energycommission estimates that 19 percent of California's electricity use 33 percent of its non electricitynatural gas use and 88 million gallons of diesel consumption are is water related in California. And soto put these numbers in a little bit abstract, less abstract terms think of think of the followings, Manypeople often leave the faucet running as they are brushing their teeth, flossing, shaving doing any of thenumber of things, but leaving the faucet running for five minutes uses an equivalent amount of energyas operating a 60 watt light bulb for 14 hours., this is substantially more energy than most peoplerealize with simply turning on the top, except the water to be there, but the energy associated with thatwater can be very high, and it also varies throughout parts of the state, so in Southern California, theenergy associated with that is even higher, where as in other parts of the state, Northern Californiatends to be a little bit lower. So in total, California's water related energy is about 78 billion kilowatthours per year, so this is equivalent to the annual electricity use of Colorado and Nevada combined.So clearly too huge amount of energy, an overwhelming 83 percent of that energy, however is a resultof customer end use. Keep in mind that it does vary by region and even within a region based up on thecurrent mix and local geography, in Southern California, as I previously mentioned more energy goesto water supply and treatment because that energy again is pumped up and over the Tehachapi I meanin Northern California it is slightly less, but in all cases the largest proportion is end use.So as concerns about kind of water scarcity, population growth and where that growth is occurring, Imean climate change are really forcing us to rethink the relationship between water and energy. Andrecent legislation is really prompting and will encourage this even further, in September of last year, inSeptember of 2006, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed assembly bill 32, which for those whodon't know it's the global warming solutions act, so under that law California has committed to reduceit's green house gas emissions, to 2000 levels by the year 2010, to 1990 levels by the year 2020 andfinally to 80 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050, so the water sector will undoubtedly meetthese targets in a variety of ways, they will optimize the efficiency of the existing system by installingnewer newer pumps, and they will also increase renewable energy generation, so for example byinstalling biogas, recovery of waste water treatment plants or putting in solar panels kind of along theproperty that they manage, many water districts, not only on kind of a variety of way, were thedistribution system lies but also on land within the water shed in order to protect it so installing solarpanels or other kind of forms of renewable wind turbines if appropriate, they will kind of emboss theamount of renewable energy generation.Our water agencies will also develop less energy intense of local sources, so we will probably see a riseof recycled water, I mean other kind of lower you know ground water, that kind of thing. But givingthat end use accounts for such a large portion for 83 percent, both water and energy managers arebeginning to look to water conservation and efficiency improvements as means of meeting these targets.So talk a little bit about how we actually use water in California today, and then we focus on urbanwater use, I will talk a little bit about agricultural water use, probably to the end, in most cases urbanwater use is much more energy intensive than agricultural water use, but some of our decisions abouthow we redistribute our cultural water use are very important and have large energy implications butwe will come back to that in just a moment.California's urban water use in 2000 about a third of that went for residential indoor use, so that'swater to flush our toilets, to wash our clothes and our dishes, about 20 percent of our water goes tooutdoor purposes, so that's to put on our lawns, to wash our cars and hopefully not to wash our sidewalks so that I realize some people like to do that and about 35 percent goes for commercial andindustrial purposes and that's to produce our clothes, to manufacture our computer chips, to produceice at restaurants all these various processes many of us are really aware of use a tremendous amount ofwater, and over the past 30 years Californian's have really made significant water use in efficiencyimprovements, a total water use in California in 2000, was actually less than it was in 1975, yet thepopulation increased by 60 percent and the gross state products increased two and a half times, so partof that change is due to changing in our economy, we have changed, we have start producing as muchthings and we are now kind of turned in and more often to this service sector and typically the servicesector uses a less water than the manufacturing sector. But much of this is due to water conservationand efficiency improvements.National efficiency standards for appliances that use water have been really a key element in reducingtotal water use and many agencies through out California are finding that they are able to meet theneeds of their population and actually decrease and in some cases maintain but in many cases,decrease their total water use. You know, back in 1980, six gallon per flush toilets were commonthrough out California. Today we are using about 1.6 gallon the newer toilets any way use 1.6 gallonsper flush, although I would argue that we are still a number of the six gallon per flush and even thethree and a half gallon per flush toilet still in use. Shower heads, back in the early part early 80s andeven in the 90s were using five to seven gallons per minute. Today, based on efficiency standards, itrequire to be two and a half gallons per minute. And although there are many new technologies todecrease use further you know, - well there are many technologies I should say to reduce this furtherand that in the next coming years these will become more common and therefore we have theopportunity to reduce our use even further.Despite these improvements, California's current water use remains wasteful. At the pacific institutewe undertook a study in 2003 called "Waste Not, Want Not" and the potential for urban waterconservation in California and we looked at what current use was and by current, I am using 2000 asthe base year, and where how much water we could be using. If everyone in California was using a1.6 gallon per flush toilet, a low flow shower head. If people were using some of the newertechnologies to water their lawns, some of the technologies that deliver water based on tough waterrequirement or grass water requirements rather than simply flooding their lawns. And we also lookedout you know, what's the potential for reducing use in the commercial and industrial sector. And whatwe found was pretty amazing that the potential water savings is still today we could reduce water useby 33 percent over what it was in over current years by installing many of these current existingtechnologies. And significant savings are available on every sector from the residential to thecommercial and industrial.In a recent study, the California energy commission took the pacific institute's "Waste Not, Want Not"results, so looked at how much water could be saved by becoming more efficient and quantify theenergy savings that's associated with those improvements. So the energy commission found that thesewater use efficiency programs could produce could reduce energy use by 6.5 billion kilo watt hoursat a cost of 826 million. Having compared this to how much energy could be saved by some of thekind of existing traditional energy efficiency programs. They found that these traditional energyefficiency programs could reduce energy use by about 6.8 billion kilo watt hours at a cost of 1.5 billion.So when you look at the cost per kilo watt hour, so for the energy efficiency programs, it's about 22cents per kilo watt hour, whereas the water use efficiency programs could produce those savings atmuch less cost. So on total the the energy commission concluded that 95 percent of the savings ofthat water use efficiency programs could deliver 95 percent of their savings as traditional energyefficiency programs at 55 percent of the costs. So if a state or water utility or even an energy utility has50 or $100 million to invest in reducing energy use but it will get much more bank for the block byinvesting in water used efficiency programs than investing in traditional energy efficiency programs.Additionally, many of the water conservation devices also save the consumer money, so considered towashing machines; we kind of have the conventional a new conventional top loading clothes washercosts about $450. We also have today, some of the front loading clothes washers which use much lesswater but are a little bit more expensive say that's $750. Over the life of the device, if we look strictlyat water costs and water savings, it's not efficient to install the front loading clothes washer, okay. Butwhen we include, the energy cost the energy savings from the clothes washers are very high, so thatover the life time, the consumer would actually be saving money. In this case over a $100, risingenergy cost are forcing many agencies and individuals to begin and valuating the energy implicationsof their water management decisions, concerns about climate change and potential limitations on greenhouse gas emissions is going to further push that along.I would like to draw your attention to the Santa Clara valley water district, Santa Clara valley waterdistrict based in the south part of San Francesco bay has shown tremendous leadership and really tryingto better understand the connections between water and energy, and we had the workshop back inAugust of 2005, which they pulled together many of the different water and waste water agencies, totry to really find kind of places where they could reduce energy use, but also not impact services totheir customers, and they also are among the first agency to really quantify the energy savings resultingfrom their water conservation and recycle of water programs, they estimate that between 1992 and2006 that these programs have reduced their energy use by about 1.42 billion kilowatt hours, which isequivalent to the annual electricity use of 207 households, so clearly this has - has tremendous potentialto reduce energy use, and well excuse me I have spent much of the time - much of this talk reallyfocused on urban water use, that agriculture sector in California actually uses about 80 percent of thewater and farmers are increasingly installing trip and sprinkler the irrigation both of which mayactually increase energy use, so with both trip and sprinkling irrigation farmers will need to pressurizethe systems a bit and this may or may not increase energy, some of that increase may be partially orcompletely offset by reductions in ground water pumping, or surface water deliveries or fertilizerapplication, but the net effect depends in part on a number of factors, including kind of local geographyand where that water ultimately goes, so for - if the water we are saving is going to say an urban anurban area, it could be actually increasing the energy use associated with that water, a case study ofpotatoes in Columbia river basin provides a really interesting example that I think will help peopleunderstand that they have very complex relationship between water and energy particularly in theagricultural sector so the Columbia river basin is located in the North west part of the United States andit extends from parts of Canada down through Montano and Idaho and across Oregon and Washington,potatoes are a key crop that are grown in the region, and particularly upstream of some of thehydroelectric generation, and so in our report entitled - it is available in lobbing called energy down thedrain this is a report about the pacific institute and the natural resources defense council role back in2004, they looked at what the energy intensity was associated with the water used for growing crops inthis basin, what they found that is very interesting, they found that about a quarter of the energyassociated with potato production is due to source and conveyance, so that's due to pumping groundwater, taking ground water from the stream, in this case taking ground water from the stream, but anddelivering it to the farms, they also found that the cultivation - planting, cultivation and harvest of thesefarms accounts for another 25 percent a quarter of it, all what's most interesting is they found thatdiversions that occur upstream of hydroelectric generation actually result in lost hydro power and sosome of the energy associated with using that water on these farms is lost hydropower some thing thatmost people wouldn't necessarily consider when they were thinking about the energy implications, soin conclusion I hope to demonstrate it to you that water and energy are tightly linked, but that theselinks are purely understood or used in policy although although are becoming increasingly so, thatwater management must really be a critical element of any long term efforts to reduce green house gasemissions and that the good news is that many of these savings can be done at lower cost thantraditional energy efficiency programs particularly in the urban sector, so with that I would be happy totake any questions, I would like to point out that in the lobby as well as on online, we have a number ofreports that address some of the issues I brought up including energy down the drain and "Waste not,Want not" and these can be found on our website at www.perkins.org. Thank you.