The conservation connection: Why saving energy is an essential component to the state’s water plan

SCE is partnering with the state during July’s ‘Water Smart Month.’

July 15, 2013 | By Vanessa McGrady

Most Southern Californians are conscious of the water they use, but not everyone realizes that when we save water, we also save electricity.

That’s why Southern California Edison (SCE) is partnering with the state during July, which Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr., declared as “Water Smart Month.” According to the state water plan, as California deals with its energy supply and infrastructure challenges, the state must address the points of highest stress.

“At the top of this list is California’s water-energy relationship: water-related energy use consumes 19 percent of the state’s electricity, 30 percent of its natural gas, and 88 billion gallons of diesel fuel every year — and this demand is growing.”

The report goes on to explain that when people move into our state, the demand for energy and water grows accordingly. But Southern California has two-thirds of the population and only one-third of the precipitation. During hot weather, power outages due to electric system constraints can compromise water system reliability, which can threaten the public’s health and safety.

“We have always known that water and energy are linked,” said Rob Oglesby, executive director of the California Energy Commission and co-chair of the governor’s water-energy sub-team of the Climate Action Team (WET-CAT). “However, until 2005, when the commission studied  California’s water energy relationship, we didn’t realize just how much potential the state has to significantly reduce its water and energy consumption.”

Frances Spivy-Weber, vice chair of the State Water Resources Control Board and WET-CAT co-chair, says that everyone has a role in conservation.

“In most parts of the state, people pour 40 to 60 percent of our drinking water onto lawns during summer, and a lot of energy is used to collect, treat and deliver our most precious resource,” she said. “We now face a future of increased growth and limited supplies. If we want to maintain our quality of life, each of us needs to be responsible and conserve where we can.”

How SCE is Helping

In addition to providing solutions for efficient pumping operations to its agricultural and water/wastewater customers, SCE is also:

  • Working with large and small water agencies, districts and municipalities on reducing costs and improving system reliability with specific energy efficiency and demand response solutions for the water industry.
  • Teaming up with hotels in the city of Avalon on Catalina Island to provide water conservation cards to help guests understand the importance of re-using towels and sheets. SCE is the water and energy provider to the entire island.
  • Including water energy messaging in newspapers throughout its 50,000-square-mile service territory, and is distributing information in multiple languages at community events, workshops and training classes.

Emailing conservation messages to customers who have opted in to receive these kinds of communications.

What Customers Can Do This Summer

In some areas, nearly half of water usage is related to landscaping. Some ways to conserve energy include:

  • Check that the sprinkler system is only watering the lawn and not the house, sidewalk or street and save 12-15 gallons each watering period.
  • Water deeply but less frequently (and never mid-day) to create healthier and stronger landscapes.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks and patios and save 8-18 gallons a minute.

Visit the state’s website to calculate energy usage and learn about the importance of saving water for California’s future.  

Topics: Customer Service