The Center uses data in ways that will lead to unique opportunities and new perspectives for natural resource conservation. CWEE created a tool in 2016 to visualize the conservation efforts of the 400+ urban water suppliers in California as part of the Governor’s Mandate to reduce water consumption by 25% (between June 2015 and May 2016). The compilation of data allowed the research team to not only visualize individual utility efforts but more interestingly, evaluate the electricity and GHG emission savings directly linked to water conservation during the mandate.
This research is a first step in showing the quantifiable value of water conservation toward carbon reduction goals for the state.
The study showed the state successfully saved 524,000 Million Gallons of water (24.5% decrease relative to the 2013 baseline) over the Mandate period. These savings translate to 1,830 GWH total electricity savings, and a GHG emissions reduction of 521,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents. The emission savings is comparable to removing 111,000 cars off the road for a year. For further comparison, the total electricity savings linked to water conservation are roughly 11% greater than the savings achieved by the investor-owned electricity utilities’ efficiency programs for the same period. These indirect savings were achieved at costs that were competitive to existing programs that directly target electricity and GHG emission reductions.
This research is a first step in showing the quantifiable value of water conservation toward carbon reduction goals for the state. Additionally, this is one of many research steps the Center will take in order to support water utilities in receiving “credit” for energy and carbon savings resulting from water efficiency.
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