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Sen. Murkowski: Technology Key to Addressing Energy-Water Nexus

Top Energy Panel Republican Calls for Government, Private Sector to Take Proactive Approach Improving Energy, Water Resiliency

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today called on the federal government to partner with the private sector and academia to support research to improve the efficient use of energy and water in the production and use of both critical resources.

In a speech Tuesday at the Atlantic Council, Murkowski said that a coordinated public-private approach to energy-water nexus issues would promote economic growth and lead to the discovery of breakthrough technologies in energy and water resiliency.

“There is a clear need to obtain reliable, current, and comprehensive data on energy-for-water and water-for-energy use by all stakeholders, both public and private. More accurate data can improve informed decision making; help prioritize investments in energy-water related infrastructure; and lead to better water and energy use practices,” Murkowski said.

The energy-water nexus is comprised of the water used to produce energy, including raw resources, refined products, and electricity; and the energy required to treat, transport, and distribute water.

Some 410 billion gallons of water are being treated and transported across the United States on a daily basis. Researchers also found that direct water-related energy consumption amounted to more than 12 percent of domestic primary energy consumption in 2010. That is equivalent to the annual water consumption of about 40 million Americans.

“We should not assume that water will always be available for these purposes,” Murkowski said. “With a steady population increase and the resource needs of a modern economy, freshwater could well become a limited resource in many parts of this nation.”

Murkowski has already taken legislative action, introducing, in January, the Nexus of Energy and Water for Sustainability (NEWS) Act of 2014 (S. 1971). The legislation directs the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy to establish a committee to coordinate and streamline federal energy and water nexus activities.

Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, on Tuesday also released a white paper – The Energy-Water Nexus: Interlinked Resources That Are Vital for Economic Growth and Sustainability – on the importance of the energy-water nexus to the U.S. economy.

The white paper and full text of Murkowski’s speech are available on the energy panel’s website. Archived video of Murkowski’s speech is available on the Atlantic Council website.

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