'Water Resource Management for Energy Conservation' Program from Nature's Voice Our Choice

Nature's Voice Our Choice is working on water-energy issues through their Water Resource Management for Energy Conservation program.
Author: Bevan Griffiths-Sattenspiel

Natures Voice Our Choice (NVOC) is a nonprofit organization working on water-energy issues through their Water Resource Management for Energy Conservation program, which focuses on balancing water supply and demand, using green infrastructure to manage stormwater and reducing water use in power production.

I first heard about NVOC a few months ago through Mary Ann Dickinson, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Water Efficiency. Mary Ann recommended I get in touch with NVOC to learn about the work they’ve been doing to quantify the energy intensity of municipal water supplies and develop water management programs the reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

I followed up with some emails and a phone call and learned that there are number of exciting parallels between River Network and NVOC. For instance, both River Network and NVOC are focused on spurring local action and working with the grassroots to protect our water resources and address climate change. NVOC’s Water Resource Management for Energy Conservation program focuses on three main elements, which reflect the same of concepts and solutions that River Network is promoting through our Water and Energy program:

teaching students about the water-energy-climate connection

In an email exchange, NVOC’s Executive Director, Brandy Lellou, explained to me that:

Although the world is racing to reduce its green house gas (GHG) emissions, severe hydrologic changes are imminent including increased drought and flooding. As a result of climate change, we know that water will be an enormous problem, but what if we could make it a component of the solution?

NVOC’s Water Resource Management for Energy Conservation (WRMEC) program is ensuring that water is a key part of the solution by identifying and quantifying links between water and energy sectors nationwide and using these links to develop strategies and projects that have the dual benefits of GHG reduction and climate change adaptation. A great deal of education, information sharing, and coordination is needed to ensure that water policies, programs, and conservation initiatives are considered when balancing competing demands: i.e. population growth, industry expansion, and power generation. Therefore the WRMEC program focuses on disseminating information and coordinating water/energy nexus efforts among technical, community, and decision making bodies.

Their WRMEC program is lead by Valerie Strassberg who has been working in Chicago, IL and James County, VA to determine the energy intensity of their water systems and help them design programs that save water while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Check out her presentation on the link between carbon markets and freshwater resources (PDF).

Both Brandy and Valerie are going to be attending the Water-Energy Symposium 2010, where they will be giving a couple presentation about their work. It’s always a lot of fun to hear about how other groups are working with the water-energy neuxs, and it will be exciting to discover what synergies exist as River Network and NVOC work with communities to address our water, energy and climate challenges.

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