How Closely Are Water and Energy Linked?

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UC Riverside to observe World Water Day on April 3 with symposium focused on water-energy nexus

By Iqbal Pittalwala on March 31, 2014

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Photo shpws a water dam.

The 2014 World Water Day had water and energy as its theme. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — California is facing its most severe drought in decades. Governor Jerry Brown has asked each state agency to reduce its water consumption by 20 percent over the next year.  Recently, University of California President Janet Napolitano urged each UC campus to take drought response measures aimed at reducing short-term water consumption.

Therefore, World Water Day, which, as its name suggests, is observed worldwide for a day each year, held particular significance for Californians this year. Falling on March 22, the 2014 World Water Day had water and energy as its theme.

To observe World Water Day, the University of California, Riverside is hosting a symposium on April 3 in Room 240, Orbach Science Library. Extending from noon to 4 p.m., the symposium is free of charge and open to the public.

For more information on the symposium and to read the abstracts of the talks, click here.

“World Water Day, a United Nations initiative, is celebrated around the world with one theme chosen each year,” said Ariel Dinar, the director of UC Riverside’s Water Science and Policy Center (WSPC), which is hosting the symposium. “It is apt that the theme this year is water and energy.  A significant amount of energy goes to move and pump water.  Therefore, saving water will save energy and saving energy will save water.  This nexus is very important in semi-arid regions such as California.  UCR has several researchers and graduate students working on the water-energy nexus.  We expect in this symposium to raise awareness of the linkage between water and energy so that both resources can be conserved and used in an optimal way today and in the future.”

Water is needed to produce nearly all forms of energy. Demand for freshwater and energy are expected to increase significantly over the coming decades, presenting challenges and straining resources.  When choices are made concerning the supply, distribution, price, and use of water and energy, they impact one another.

A number of experts will give short talks at the symposium. They will cover a wide range of water- and energy-related topics, including renewable energy, using marginal land to produce biodiesel, energy considerations needed when purifying water for potable reuse, and how the Emirate of Dubai makes decisions related to water and energy.

“We decided to host World Water Day at UCR on April 3 instead of March 22 so that our students can attend the symposium as well,” Dinar said.

The first day of classes for the spring quarter begins today.

Besides the WSPC, UCR’s College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology and the Water Resources Collections and Archives are co-sponsoring the symposium.

Parking on campus costs about $6 per day.  Short-term parking for the symposium is available in Parking Lot 10 at $2 per hour for a maximum of two hours.

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