Yes, a light bulb!
Let’s shine some light on the link between water and energy. The fact is, they’re inseparable. It takes a LOT of energy to capture, treat and deliver water, and 90% of all electricity generation is water intensive. Both of these critical resources are in need of conservation as our local, national and global populations grow. Fortunately, conserving one helps us conserve the other.
Let’s take a deeper dive into this critical relationship…
- Energy can’t happen without water:
- 15% of all global water withdrawals are for energy production.
- In the U.S., freshwater sources provide 40% of the water for power generation.
- Freshwater availability varies with weather and climate and is coming under ever-increasing pressure from development.
- Water can’t get to our faucets without energy:
- Drinking water and wastewater systems account for 3–4% of all energy use in the United States.
- Electricity accounts for 25–40% of the operating cost of a wastewater utility and approximately 80% of drinking water processing and distribution costs.
This intertwined relationship increases the vulnerability of each; what threatens one, threatens both. We’re all aware of the current drought issues in the western U.S.. We see the images of fires, dried lakes and desiccated crops. Less publicized but equally critical are the constraints being placed on power plants throughout the region. It wasn’t that long ago, 2011-2013, that we experienced similar conditions in our region and they are sure to happen again. Our extreme storms pose another threat to the water-energy nexus, only in reverse. Storm-related power outages place great stress on water facilities, especially treatment facilities. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey left hundreds of communities in southeast Texas without safe drinking water. In total, 45 water systems shut down and 171 areas issued boil water notices. Thankfully, The Woodlands avoided that problem. Let’s hope we’re that lucky next time.
These are large-scale issues that may seem out of our control. Fortunately, they aren’t. The individual actions you and I take each day make a difference. More good news, most water and energy saving actions are simple and easy to do. And they save money, too! Essentially, we get paid to do the right thing.
Make a commitment today to take action and you’ll save water AND energy at the same time.
What a Bright Idea
Are there still incandescent bulbs burning in your home? If so, change them over to LED bulbs. They last longer, burn cooler and use a lot less energy. Here’s a great offer: Stop by the Environmental Services office and ask for a free LED Nightlight, or bring in a burned out incandescent bulb and we’ll give you a 75w equivalent LED light bulb to get you started in transitioning to “water saving” lighting (while supplies last). NO BROKEN BULBS please!
- Environmental Services
- 8203 Millennium Forest Drive
- Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.