Protecting the Lifeline of the West: How Climate and Energy Policies Can Safeguard Water

This report, a collaborative effort by Western Resource Advocates and the Environmental Defense Fund, illustrates the key connections between climate change, energy, and water in the West. The report focuses on the states of the interior West — Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

The research supporting the adverse impacts of climate change on western water supplies is reviewed. Energy options are evaluated through the lens of water use, finding that fossil-fuel-based electricity and transportation fuels consume significant amounts of water, while tapping efficiency and renewable energy could reduce the freshwater consumption used in energy production. Water supply strategies through energy use are also evaluated, highlighting how proposed new water supply projects are highly energy intensive, while increasing water use efficiency can save substantial amounts of energy. Challenges the West faces and the climate, energy, and water policies for solving them are summarized as well.

Publication Date: 2010

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  • Case study
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

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