Senate Testimony on the Energy Water Nexus

Below the fold is the 3/10 testimony to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources United States Senate by Professor Michael Webber, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Associate Director, Center for International Energy & Environmental Policy at The University of Texas at Austin (hat-tip Debbie Cook).

Dr. Webber explains the intricate and increasingly vital links between energy and water, both in the United States, and the world. As previously mentioned, I have a paper (finally after nearly 3 years) in press on the Energy Return on Water Invested - a statistic that further adjusts a technologies unit energy return for each associated water unit (consumption or withdrawal). How we choose/optimize between limited and limiting natural resources will be the central policy challenge in the decades ahead. I am encouraged that government is hearing about not only about scarcity of low cost vital inputs, but their inter-relationships.

Trends and Policy Issues For The Nexus of Energy and Water
Testimony of Michael E. Webber, Ph.D.

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, thank you so much for the invitation to speak before your committee on the nexus of energy and water. My name is Michael Webber, and I am the Associate Director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. I appear here today to share with you my perspective on important trends and policy issues related to this nexus.

My testimony today will make four main points:
1. Energy and water are interrelated,
2. The energy-water relationship is already under strain,
3. Trends imply these strains will be exacerbated, and
4. There are different policy actions that can help.

I will briefly elaborate on each of these points during this testimony.

Energy and Water Are Interrelated

Energy and water are interrelated: we use energy for water, and we use water for energy.
For example, we use energy to heat, treat and move water. Water heating alone is responsible for 9% of residential electricity consumption in the U.S. And, nationwide, water and wastewater treatment and distribution combined require about 3% of the nation’s electricity. However, regionally, that number can be much higher. In California, where water is moved hundreds of miles across two mountain ranges, water is responsible for approximately 15% of the state’s total electricity consumption. Similarly large investments of energy for water occurs wherever water is scarce and energy is available.

In addition to using energy for water, we also use water for energy. We use water directly through hydroelectric power generation at major dams, indirectly as a coolant for thermoelectric power plants, and as a critical input for the production of biofuels. The thermoelectric power sector—comprised of power plants that use heat to generate power, including those that operate on nuclear, coal, natural gas or biomass fuels—is the single largest user of water in the United States. Cooling of power plants is responsible for the withdrawal of nearly 200 billion gallons of water per day. This use accounts for 49% of all water withdrawals in the nation when including saline withdrawals, and 39% of all freshwater withdrawals, which is about the same as for agriculture. On average, anywhere between 1 to 40 gallons of water is needed for cooling for every kilowatt-hour of electricity that is generated. However, while power plants withdraw vast amounts of water, very little of that water is actually consumed; most of the water is returned to the source though at a different temperature and with a different quality. Thus, while power plants are major users of water, they are not major consumers of water, which is in contrast with the agriculture sector, which consumes all the water it withdraws.

The Energy-Water Relationship Is Already Under Strain

Unfortunately, the energy-water relationship introduces vulnerabilities whereby constraints of one resource introduces constraints in the other. For example, during the heat wave in France in 2003 that was responsible for approximately 10,000 deaths, nuclear power plants in France had to reduce their power output because of the high inlet temperatures of the cooling water. Environmental regulations in France (and the United States) limit the rejection temperature of power plant cooling water to avoid ecosystem damage from thermal pollution (e.g. to avoid cooking the plants and animals in the waterway). When the heat wave raised river temperatures, the nuclear power plants could not achieve sufficient cooling within the environmental limits, and so they reduced their power output at a time when electricity demand was spiking by residents turning on their air conditioners. In this case, a water resource constraint became an energy constraints.

In addition to heat waves, droughts can also strain the energy-water relationship. During the drought in the southeastern United States in early 2008, nuclear power plants were within weeks of shutting down because of limited water supplies. Today in the west, a severe multi-year drought has lowered water levels behind Hoover Dam, introducing the risk that Las Vegas will lose a substantial portion of its drinking water at the same time the dam’s hydroelectric turbines quit spinning, which would cut off a significant source of power for Los Angeles. In addition, power outages hamper the ability for the water/wastewater sector to treat and distribute water. Thus, strain in the energy-water nexus is very real in the United States and is here today.

It is important to note that while constraints in one resource introduce constraints on the other, the corollary of that relationship is also true. That is, both resources can be enabling for the other: with unlimited energy, we could have unlimited freshwater; with unlimited water, we could have unlimited energy.

Trends Imply These Strains Will Be Exacerbated

While the energy-water relationship is already under strain today, trends imply that the strain will be exacerbated unless we take appropriate action. There are four key pieces to this overall trend:
1. Population growth, which drives up total demand for energy and water,
2. Economic growth, which can drive up per capita demand for both energy and water,
3. Climate change, which intensifies the hydrological cycle, and
4. Policy choices, whereby we are choosing to move towards more energy-intensive water and more water-intensive energy.

Population Growth Will Put Upward Pressure on Demand for Energy & Water

Population growth over the next few decades might yield another 100 million people in the United States over the next four decades, each of whom will need energy and water to survive and prosper. This fundamental demographic trend puts upward pressure on demand for both resources, thereby potentially straining the energy-water relationship further.

Economic Growth Will Put Upward Pressure on Per Capita Demand for Energy & Water

On top of underlying trends for population growth is an expectation for economic growth. Because personal energy and water consumption tend to increase with affluence, there is the risk that the per capita demand for energy and water will increase due to economic growth. For example, as people become wealthier they tend to eat more meat (which is very water intensive), and use more energy and water to air condition large homes or irrigate their lawns. Also, as societies become richer, they often demand better environmental conditions, which implies they will spend more energy on wastewater treatment. However, it’s important to note that the use of efficiency and conservation measures can occur alongside economic growth, thereby counteracting the nominal trend for increased per capita consumption of energy and water. At this point, looking forward, it is not clear whether technology, efficiency and conservation will continue to mitigate the upward pressure on per capita consumption that are a consequence of economic growth. Thus, it’s possible that the United States will have a compounding effect of increased consumption per person on top of a growing number of people.

Climate Change Is Likely To Intensify Hydrological Cycles

One of the important ways climate change will manifest itself it through an intensification of the global hydrological cycle. This intensification is likely to mean more frequent and severe droughts and floods along with distorted snowmelt patterns. Because of these changes to the natural water system, it is likely we will need to spend more energy storing, moving, treating and producing water. For example, as droughts strain existing water supplies, cities might consider production from deeper aquifers, poorer-quality sources that require desalination, or long-haul pipelines to get the water to its final destination. Las Vegas, San Diego and Dallas are already considering some version of these options, all of which are extremely energy-intensive. Desalination in particular is alarming because it is approximately ten times more energy-intensive than production from surface freshwater sources such as rivers and lakes. Some areas are considering a combination of desalination plus long-haul pipelines, which has a compounding effect for energy use.

Policy Choices Exacerbate Strain in the Energy-Water Nexus

On top of the prior three trends is a policy-driven movement towards more energy-intensive water and water-intensive energy.

We are moving towards more energy-intensive water because of increasingly strict treatment standards for water and wastewater, which requires more energy than traditional approaches that met prior standards. In addition, instead of a push for water efficiency and conservation, many municipalities are pushing for new supplies of water starting with sources that are farther away and lower quality, and thereby require more energy to get them to the right quality and location.

For a variety of reasons, including the desire to produce a higher proportion of our energy from domestic sources and to decarbonize our energy system, many of our preferred energy choices are more water-intensive. For example, nuclear energy is produced domestically, but is also more water-intensive than other forms of power generation. The move towards more water-intensive energy is especially relevant for transportation fuels such as unconventional fossil fuels (oil shale, coal-to-liquids, gas-to-liquids, tar sands), electricity, hydrogen, and biofuels, all of which can require significantly more water to produce than gasoline (depending on how you produce them). It is important to note that the push for renewable electricity also includes solar photovoltaics and wind power, which require very little water, and so not all future energy choices are worse from a water-perspective.

Almost all unconventional fossil fuels are more water-intensive than domestic, conventional gasoline production. While gasoline might require a few gallons of water for every gallon of fuel that is produced, the unconventional fossil sources are typically a few times more water-intensive. Electricity for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) or electric vehicles (EVs) are appealing because they are clean at the vehicle’s end-use and it’s easier to scrub emissions at hundreds of smokestacks millions of tailpipes. However, powerplants use a lot of cooling water, and consequently electricity can also be about twice as water-intensive than gasoline per mile traveled if the electricity is generated from the standard U.S. grid. If that electricity is generated from wind or other water-free sources, then it will be less water-consumptive than gasoline. Hydrogen can also be more water-intensive than gasoline, depending on how it is produced. If made from steam methane reforming or electrolysis from water-free electrical sources such as wind, then hydrogen is no worse than gasoline (and potentially much better). However, if hydrogen is made from electrolysis using electricity from the standard U.S. grid, then producing hydrogen might consume more than 25 gallons of water and withdraw more than 1000 gallons for every gallon of gasoline equivalent energy that is produced. Though unconventional fossil fuels, electricity and hydrogen are all potentially more water-intensive than conventional gasoline by up to a factor of 10 or so, biofuels are particularly water-intensive. Growing biofuels consumes more than 1000 gallons of water for every gallon of fuel that is produced. Sometimes this water is provided naturally from rainfall, however for a non-trivial proportion of our biofuels production, irrigation is used. Irrigated biofuels from corn or soy can consume twenty or more gallons of water for every mile traveled.

Note that for the sake of analysis and regulation, it is convenient to consider the water requirements per mile traveled. Doing so incorporates the energy density of the final fuels plus the efficiency of the engines, motors or fuel cells with which they are compatible.

If we compare the water requirements per mile traveled with projections for future transportation miles and combined those figures with mandates for the use of new fuels, such as biofuels, the water impacts are startling. Water consumption might go up from approximately one trillion gallons of water per year to make gasoline (with ethanol as an oxygenate), to a few trillion gallons of water per year. To put this water consumption into context, each year the United States consumes about 36 trillion gallons of water. Consequently, it is possible that water consumption for transportation will more than double from less than 3% of national use to more than 7% of national use. In a time when we are already facing water constraints, it is not clear we have the water to pursue this path. Essentially we are deciding to switch from foreign oil to domestic water for our transportation fuels, and while that might be a good decision for strategic purposes, I advise that we first make sure we have the water.

There are Different Policy Actions That Can Help

Because there are many rivers, watersheds, basins and aquifers that span several states and/or countries, there is a need for federal engagement on energy-water issues.

Unfortunately, there are some policy pitfalls at the energy-water nexus. For example, energy and water policymaking are disaggregated. The funding and oversight mechanisms are separate, and there are a multitude of agencies, committees, and so forth, none of which have clear authority. It is not unusual for water planners to assume they have all the energy they need and for energy planners to assume they have the water they need. If their assumptions break down, it could cause significant problems. In addition, the hierarchy of policymaking is dissimilar. Energy policy is formulated in a top-down approach, with powerful federal energy agencies, while water policy is formulated in a bottom-up approach, with powerful local and state water agencies. Furthermore, the data on water quantity are sparse, error-prone, and inconsistent. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) conducted its last survey on water consumption in 1995 and its last published data on water withdrawals are from 2000. National databases of water use for power plants contain errors, possibly due to differences in the units, format and definitions between state and federal reporting requirements. For example, the definitions for water use, withdrawal and consumption are not always clear. And, water planners in the east use “gallons” and water planners in the west use “acre-feet,” introducing additional risk for confusion or mistakes.

Despite the potential pitfalls, there are policy opportunities at the energy-water nexus. For example, water conservation and energy conservation are synonymous. Policies that promote water conservation also achieve energy conservation. Policies that promote energy conservation also achieve water conservation. It is my opinion that robust energy and water policies should begin with conservation because of the cascading cross-over benefits they offer.

Thankfully, the federal government has some effective policy levers at its disposal. I recommend the following policy actions for the energy-water nexus:

►1. Collect, maintain and make available accurate, updated and comprehensive water data, possibly through the USGS. The Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration maintains an extensive database of accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive information on energy production, consumption, trade, and price available with temporal and geographic resolution and standardized units. Unfortunately, there is no equivalent set of data for water. Consequently, analysts, policymakers and planners lack suitable data to make informed decisions.

►2. Establish federal oversight for water quantity. The Environmental Protection Agency has oversight of water quality, but it’s not clear if any agency has oversight of water quantity.

►3. Establish strict standards in building codes for water efficiency. Building codes should include revised standards for low-flow appliances, water-heating efficiency, purple-piping for reclaimed water, rain barrels and so forth in order to reduce both water and energy consumption.

►4. Invest heavily in water-related R&D to match recent increases in energy-related R&D. R&D investments are an excellent policy option for the federal government because state/local governments and industry usually are not in a position to adequately invest in research. Consequently, the amount of R&D in the water sector is much lower than for other sectors such as pharmaceuticals, technology, or energy. Furthermore, since energy-related R&D is expected to go through a surge in funding, it would be appropriate from the perspective of the energy-water nexus to raise water-related R&D in a commensurate way. Topics for R&D include low-energy water treatment, novel approaches to desalination, remote leak detectors for water infrastructure, and air-cooling systems for power plants. In addition, DoE’s R&D program for biofuels should emphasize feedstocks such as cellulosic sources or algae that do note require freshwater irrigation.

►5. Support the use of reclaimed water at powerplants, industry and agriculture. Using reclaimed water for powerplants, industry and agriculture spares a significant amount of energy. However there are financing, regulatory and permitting hurdles in place that restrict this option.

►6. Rethink water markets. Water is widely expected to be free and unlimited, even though water is a limited resource that we should value highly. Consequently, it is worthwhile to consider implementing water markets that balance our competing needs to meet our social justice and human rights goals (that is, everyone needs water to survive, whether rich or poor), while also meeting our need to discourage water waste through high prices. Block pricing, whereby the first amount of water usage is cheap or free in order to meet our survival needs, after which the price escalates significantly in order to curtail water use for non-critical purposes, might be a fruitful approach.

The energy-water nexus is a complicated, important issue, and so I am very pleased to know that you are being attentive to the matter.

Mr. Chairman, that concludes my testimony. I’ll be pleased to answer questions at the appropriate time.

Some additional water/energy resources:

The Implications of Biofuel Production for United States Water Supplies
CERA: Thirsty Energy: Water and Energy in the 21st Century
The Water Intensity of Transportation
Water For Food - Swedish Research Council
Water Demand for Global Bio-Energy Production: Trends, Risks and Opportunities

Additional resources welcomed.

Nate, I love you - and thanks for posting this essay - but I must take you to task when you write:

"I am encouraged that government..."

I think people fundamentally misunderstand the current role of government. Government currently exists to serve its client base, which is actually large corporations and other interests which donate massively sums of money via campaign funds and the like (just as the consulting firm I work for serves its clients, for w/o that revenue, my company would cease to exist).

The bailout scandal is a great example of this - the financial industry donates millions of dollars to politicains' war chests, and the politicians subsequently do their bidding.

Certain politicians may be aware of natural resource and impact issues, but they no longer work for they people who elected them; they now work for the companies who give them massive amounts of $$. And we know who wins when these industries' interests run at cross-purposes with ecological constraints. Business wins ever time, under the system we now have.

Which is why things will never signifcantly change with either of the 2 dominant American parties in charge. Both parties are fully bought & paid for.

And yes, I am still waiting for an apology (which is not likely to ever come) from my friends in the Democrat party who mocked me for voting for Nader.

This is a problem, but either party still has to do enough to stop too many people dropping dead from starvation/dehydration/heat/cold/etc. Drastic failures in the Water and/or Energy supply are not good even for a 'captured' government, since they may result in real political change.

Lack of fresh water is clearly a limit to growth, but wealthier societies use more and more of it. From the testimony above:

On top of underlying trends for population growth is an expectation for economic growth. Because personal energy and water consumption tend to increase with affluence, there is the risk that the per capita demand for energy and water will increase due to economic growth. For example, as people become wealthier they tend to eat more meat (which is very water intensive), and use more energy and water to air condition large homes or irrigate their lawns.

Fresh water use cannot continue to grow exponentially. This yet another pressure on our economy, and another reason the growth our debt-based economy needs cannot continue.

I live in country with vast fresh water resources. Are there any non polluting industries that could be attracted to a fresh water rich region?

Fishing. Kayak tours...

Say -has anyone looked at the energy released from ice as it melts - is there a way to capture that? (think of all the ice...)

melting ice is endothermic.

yeah, but we'll make it up on volume.

it is clear to me I have the flu and should stop posting.

Tourism is nice but it does not make additional resources available for distressed people.

Tourism is nice. It's responsible for about one job in fourteen in my Canadian province. I'm just guessing that most of these would be related to abundant clean water and snow.

Um, Magnus specified non-polluting. Tourism qualifies IF the tourists walk in and walk out, and grow their own food and recycle their wastes. Not tourism as we know it.

I better back down to the pollution level of a paper mill with modern processes and water cleaning. Its above zero but not disruptive for a rivers ecosystem and you can for instance use the water to make drinking water.

Water is a localized problem.

I live about 10 or 11 blocks from an unlimited source of fresh water. Even the drought minimums are vast (shipping channel is 900' x 100' deep (270 m x 30 m) and the balance of the river is much larger).

There is no conceivable way of using most of the waters of the Lower Mississippi River.


Fresh water use cannot continue to grow exponentially.

Actually, Gail, it hasn't been growing exponentially in the USA. (I think Limits to Growth: the 30-year Update discusses this.)

That being said, there is much to do. Urban areas waste up to 60% of water(!) in leaks in the mains pipes, and probably another 15% or more in leaks within private properties. Things like timer-flushed urinals do not help either. Agriculture could reduce water demand by half with relatively little capital investment.

Poor countries will suffer most, because they are mostly located in the tropics (bigger floods) or the arid subtropics (bigger droughts). Also, water quality will reduce: both droughts and floods increase the sediment load in rivers and lakes, via wind-blown dust and water-borne soil erosion respectively. Look for more disease - this is where the limits will show up.

Regarding point 2, establish federal EPA oversight of water quality. This is a bad idea.

For the most part oversight of water quality is the responsibility of the states. Only Wyoming and the District of Columbia lets EPA have primary responsibility of water quality. This is a problem because, for example in the lead and copper rule, the water quality is based on corrosion, not based on health standards. Result: 1000s of children exposed to lead (see Based on poor performance there are activists trying to wrest oversight from EPA. On the other side of the pipes there were court cases, that went on for decades, on pollution of the Potomac river. EPA was incapable of reducing the pollutants discharged into the river.

If you want to do nothing to solve a water quality problem, then establish EPA oversight of water quality.

so implicit are 3 alternatives?

1)let the 'free' market solve it? (which predominantly privatizes profits and externalizes losses)
2)let it fall under different government auspices?
3)change the employees/leadership/way EPA is run?

My children were born in 2001. In 2002, an EPA-mandated change from chlorine to chloramine in the secondary disinfection caused an unanticipated increase in lead in the water, to levels 20-100 times what is considered by EPA to be acceptable. Last month EPA admitted that their "acceptable" lead levels in drinking water were based on corrosion, not health standards. Currently the EPA lead and copper rule is not under review -- and I bet that my children will be well past their majority before this issue is resolved. That is what you get with EPA: unanticipated ill effects from their own rules, followed by decades of inaction.

This is not an isolated incident. In the completely unrelated matter of ship fouling control, the onerously expensive EPA review process has impeded the development of new biocides, which means that everybody uses only cuprous oxide. The result is a huge buildup of copper in the harbors, which would not have occurred if other biocides were available. The perverse effect is that EPA's rules actually increase environmental damage.

I like the model of underwriters laboratory, or of the national sanitary foundation, for water quality. Let a private non-profit establish the standards, leaving the local authority and utility in charge of meeting those standards. This allows the standards to evolve quickly, as soon as the science is ready, leaving the hard engineering decisions to those that actually drink and pay for the water.

You still use Lead for drinking water pipes???? In The Netherlands use of Lead for piping has stopped 40 years ago and untill 5 years ago you could get money to change your piping. Not anymore, not required any more. Everybody has PE or copper...

Where the lead comes from is controversial. Houses built more than 60 years ago almost always had lead service lines, and most of these are still in place. Service lines install since then are almost always copper. Up to about 20 years ago solder was a lead alloy. Finally the end fixtures are still allowed to have up to 8% lead. Many homes that ostensibly were "lead-free" still had high lead concentrations in the water.

The most important "use" for water is to leave it in the river for the maintenance of lotic & riparian ecosystems. Nowhere is this more important than in the intermountain West. Yet water is appropriated for every trivial application from the irrigation of alfalfa for cattle feed to the watering of golf courses. We can live without petroleum extraction from oil shale, we can live without beef, we can live without water sports. What we can't live without is fresh water and the services provided by healthy aquatic ecosystems.


I don't understand. I should think anyone interested in energy vs water would pound the table repeatedly about the value of wind power. Wind (and PV) is mentioned twice, with a little bit of highlighting ("It is important to note"),but there's nothing about it in the "policy options" section.

Why, do you think, does wind not get more emphasis?

A couple of thoughts

1) wind pumped hydro
Looping the water could suit a drying river system close to high wind areas and for which not all the water is needed downstream. Cheaper wind turbines could produce unregulated electrical output used to drive pumps with variable speed motors. The pumps simply take water from the outfall and send it back up to the dam. That way the dam acts as a virtual battery so it produces power even in a drought provided the wind blows much of the year.

2) heatwave capability of thermal plant
From now on mid latitude thermal plant (coal, nukes, gas fired) should be able to cope with summer temperatures of 50C or 122F. I believe that a 1000 MWe plant with cooling towers can lose 55 megalitres or 14 million US gallons per day due to evaporation. In heatwaves part of the plant may have to be shut down. Either the cooling system should be bigger, have a large backup water pond or a closed system like an auto radiator.

1) The wind / pumped hydro system can be done virtually through the grid making use of solar and biogas see and

2) CSP & PV should be able to meet peak cooling demands but as temperatures also rise these systems could also suffer in heat waves. Perhaps a closed cooling system which is close enough to the coast to be able to make use of seawater cooling maybe as part of a tidal pumped storage scheme. Water could be stored off peak to provide peak load hydro supply and cooling to a nearby nuclear station? (wild speculation)

"Water could be stored off peak ...(wild speculation)"

Not at all wild. There's a wave energy company working on precisely that: waves pump water up a hill onshore, where it's available as needed to generate power.

I notice that it is Germany and Austria who are pursuing this multi-source virtual baseload approach. Interestingly those countries are phasing out or have cancelled nuclear installations. I suspect if electricity was wholly sourced this way it would cost several times what we are paying today. I doubt if it could support billions of people because there is not that much capital or the right balance of rain and sunshine.

3. Establish strict standards in building codes for water efficiency. Building codes should include revised standards for low-flow appliances, water-heating efficiency, purple-piping for reclaimed water, rain barrels and so forth in order to reduce both water and energy consumption.

Building codes should be revised not just for water efficiency, but for water elimination. By doing away with the water-closet and using water-less toilets (composting of otherwise), we could save 40% of the water now used and wasted. We also need to eliminate as much as possible the use of waste water treatment plants, and recycle or re-use as much as possible.

On the energy side, eliminating the use of clothes dryers and using the wind and sun instead, we would save a great deal of energy.

Adding low flow toilets does not necessarily result in efficiencies. In Orange County, California, tertiary treated effluent from inland communities is dumped into the Santa Ana River where it is then captured by coastal cities for percolation into the aquifer.

Low flow toilets and other water efficiency measures have very little benefit in New Orleans. Fresh water is treated and pressurized (some energy consumed there) and run through a system designed for a population 4+ times existing (pop 600,000 plus a million visiting inebriated guests during Mardi Gras).

Mandating efficiency everywhere blindly can be a waste of resources.


A US household uses 4 times the amount of water from a Dutch Household. We still take a shower every day, use a toilet, a dishwasher and use a washing machine. Water which you do not use does not have to be cleaned to drinking water spec's, pumped, and cleaned before send back into the local river.

The lower the flow through a pipe the lower the drag, the less energy used per m3. Also all you investments can be based on a smaller amount of water used. Smaller pipes, smaller pumps, smaller sewage treatment etc.

I agree that rainwater catchment systems can be a bit over the top, but why use good drinking water to flush your toilet? Or water your garden?? For a new development it does not have to cost too much. and it saves again on sewage etc. Also there are good systems to iniltrate water from roofs etc. so you do not have to send the run of to the sewage

Efficiency is the best way to save the environment and naturla resources. This includes water and electricity!

I strongly suspect that the US-Dutch delta is not less water flushing, bathing or cooking, but MUCH smaller yards in the Netherlands and almost no private swimming pools.

I see saving water as a trivial issue not worth much, if any, effort in New Orleans.

The expense required for dual system water & sewage system cannot be justified in water rich areas (Sweden, New Orleans, etc.)

A very logical argument can be made that New Orleans treats it's sewage too much. A cut back in the treatment would seem justified (save energy). The drinking water for the few thousand people downriver would not be affected due to the dilution in the Mississippi River.

Best Hopes for Site Specific Regulations,


maybe it's the swimming pool, maybe it's the yard... The first is a luxury the 2nd you can do with rainwater. It still is a waste of a good resource to use drinking water for a lot of things.

I will repeat again two quotes that we need to improve upon and very soon:

Whiskey is for drinking,water is for fighting.
Water flows uphill to money.

IMO, the very worst in all-out resource wars will be over postPeak water shortages.