Water and energy use are strongly linked, as withdrawing, transporting and treating water requires large amounts of energy. Conversely, energy production and extraction can also require large amounts of water. Despite these relationships and interdependencies, energy and water resources are managed separately. A sustainable future demands fully integrated management of water and energy. Researchers working with Water in the West develop tools and best management practices to effectively and efficiently integrate water and energy management. In 2014, Water in the West began a joint program with ReNUWit, an NSF-funded consortium focused on the nation's urban water infrastructure. This program evaluates strategies to encourage adoption of innovative technologies and management tools. The goal is to promote energy efficiency through water conservation, while reducing energy consumption in the treatment and use of water.
Stanford researchers apply lessons learned from the electricity sector to the water sector, uncovering specific tools that have been used to fund and implement distributed energy projects. Through this exploration they create a financing and governance framework, highlighting mechanism applicable to the water sector.