In mid-July I attended the Hydrofutures: Water Science, Technology and Communities conference in Seattle. Presenters included some of the country's leading water researchers from universities and state and federal government. Topics covered include energy, agriculture and water management (or the lack thereof), non-regulated groundwater use, international water management issues and a whole host of water supply and management models. It was a really good conference in that it brought together a somewhat disparate group of people connected by a desire to ensure water sustainability. Unfortunately there was a noticeable lack of advocacy groups such as EWG and NRDC presenting.
Probably the most important takeaway for me in water, energy and agriculture is that while there is dialogue and some cooperation between the sectors there is not a lot of collaboration. Across the country we are now seeing the connection between these three crucial management and planning areas and their impacts on the environment. We don't have much time to spend studying these connections given population growth projects and changing precipitation patterns due to climate change (and whether you believe it to be human-caused or a cycle of nature, the evidence indicates that the climate is changing) especially when we already understand a fair amount about how crucial water is to our economy and our society.
We need collaboration between water and energy planners, farmers, industrial and commercial leaders, advocates and community members. There is a place for everyone at this table because water shortages affect every single one of us across all sectors of use. We are all stakeholders because without water we won't survive, let alone thrive.
Our intention at EcoCentric is to educate you about these issues and how they intersect. For example, there is so much more to water conservation than turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth and taking shorter showers. Did you know that the best way to reduce your daily water use is by changing your diet and eating a little less meat?
Water and energy have a strong connection also. It takes a lot of water to create electricity using conventional power plant technology and it takes a lot of electricity to treat and deliver water. So water and energy conservation and efficiency are crucial sustainability concepts.
If you'd like to know more keep reading and we'll keep highlighting the connections for you.