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Research Program on Energy & Water Sustainability


First Western Forum on Energy & Water Sustainability

Forum Information


March 22-23, 2007


Bren School of Environmental Science & Mgmt., UC Santa Barbara



There is emerging interest at the national level with regards to the linkages between energy and water, and approaches for ensuring sustainability, even in the face of increasing population, climatic variability, land use change and other potential stressors on water and energy supplies. These issues are even more pressing in the western USA, where water supplies may become a limiting factor for growth, and energy supplies that depend on water may not be able to meet peak demand under certain conditions.

The Western Forum on Energy & Water Sustainability will bring together policy-makers, researchers, energy and water utilities, as well as other important stakeholders, to generate a dialog that can provide a pathway for concrete solutions: technical, economic, social and political. Some of the key questions to be addressed in the dialog include:

  • What are the western US power sector’s current and future electricity-related liabilities with respect to potential limitations in water supply? How can these liabilities be reduced?

  • What are western US water stakeholders’ current and future water-related liabilities with respect to potential limitations in electricity supply? How can these liabilities be reduced?

  • Are there opportunities to improve energy and water use efficiency that should be explored and implemented jointly?

  • How should western regional electricity and water infrastructures be organized and managed to address increasing electricity/water demands?


  • Looking into the future: population projections, short and long-term energy & water demand projections, climate change scenarios for the western US.

  • Identifying “hot-spots”: Where are the regions within the western US that have high water or energy demand, or that are particularly at risk from major changes in water availability or energy supply during peak demand periods or a crisis? What are the constraints? Interregional dependencies?

  • Technological solutions to increase water use efficiency: state of the art solutions that can be implemented today, or in the near or long-term provided there are breakthroughs in technology or policies that support their development.

  • Technological solutions to increase energy use efficiency

  • Energy or water implications of proposed solutions

  • Policy solutions: How can policy instruments improve the planning effort and/or accelerate the development and implementation of solutions? Which policy instruments can provide win-win solutions? How can the efforts of energy and water planners/policy makers be coordinated? How best to plan at a regional level, across state boundaries?

  • Research Needs: What are the critical research gaps with respect to development technological and/or policy solutions?

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