Rivers, Energy & Climate

Some of the cheapest greenhouse gas emission reductions available seem to be not energy-efficiency programs, but water-efficiency programs. ~Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute

The nexus between water and energy resources impacts rivers and our climate. On the one hand, over half of our nation's fresh, surface water withdrawals go to cool thirsty power plants. On the other hand, the equivalent of 13% our our nation's electricity is used to move, heat and treat water supplies. These two resources cannot be “conserved” or “developed” without significantly impacting one another. Our nation's energy choices not only impact our climate, but also the availability of fresh water resources. The water and energy decisions we make today can move us towards a more sustainable future.

Through our Rivers, Energy & Climate Program, we are helping local organizers tackle these issues head on at the watershed level, by:

  • Developing tools and resources to help water protection leaders across the country. Our most recent report, Burning Our Rivers: The Water Footprint of Electricity, summarizes how water is used to generate electric power and recommendations for reducing the impacts of energy development on our rivers.
  • Helping connect local leaders to share successful strategies that can be put to action through our Peer Learning Network.
  • Providing intensive training for River network partner organizations on a variety of water, energy and climate related topics at our annual National River Rally and biennial National Winter Training.