Examining US Freshwater Systems and Services: Reducing Conflicts at the Energy-Water Interface

Johnson Foundation hosted a conference on reducing conflicts at the energy-water interface, held at the Wingspread Conference Center (pictured) November 16-18, 2009.
Author: Bevan Griffiths-Sattenspiel

Earlier this week I attended a conference hosted by the Johnson Foundation called Examining US Freshwater Systems and Services: Reducing Conflicts at the Energy-Water Interface. All and all the conference was a great event and some excellent thinking and materials on the water-energy nexus were gathered by the Johnson Foundation. Continue reading for links to selected materials and some background on the conference.

The meeting was part four of their five part series exploring water issues in the U.S. - or more specifically how to ensure resiliency in both human and natural freshwater systems. The series and workshop are described as the following:

In early 2009, The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread Environmental Forum was launched. The inaugural Forum is focusing on how government, business and institutions can more effectively manage the looming crisis that threatens our nation’s freshwater resources and systems and the health of our communities. The Forum is engaging leading national experts in a series of conferences on critical dimensions of freshwater issues, including the intersection of water quality and supply with agriculture, development, municipal water and wastewater services and industrial uses. These conferences will set the stage for The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread Freshwater Summit in June 2010, in which leaders in business, government and not-for-profits will be asked to develop a national call to action and a set of key initiatives. We anticipate that future Forums will deploy the Foundation’s resources to help find solutions for other significant environmental challenges.

Working Session #4 - Reducing Conflicts at the Water-Energy Interface

The fourth working session will focus on addressing challenges at the intersection of water and energy, with an emphasis on (1) reducing the energy needs and carbon footprint associated with all sectors of water use, treatment, and movement, and (2) minimizing the conflicts between water needed for energy generation and water needed for other human and ecological purposes.

This meeting will explore and identify promising models and innovative ideas for integrating the needs of water and energy, reducing conflicts and improving freshwater resilience through energy conservation and rationalization. Common ground among diverse perspectives will be highlighted where it exists and divergent views will be recognized where it does not. This meeting will help develop an integrated framework for actionable outcomes which The Johnson Foundation and the country can work toward together. A white paper will be produced from the meeting as a tool for moving the national dialogue forward on these critical issues.

The white paper summarizing the meeting is expected to be finished in the next couple of weeks – upon which it will definitely be distributed via this blog. In the meantime, the Johnson Foundation compiled a number of resources on the water-energy nexus that are well worth checking out.

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