A Northwest environmental group is offering a new reason to conserve water: it’s a way to save energy and shrink your carbon footprint.
Conservation group Idaho Rivers United monitored 15 water providers in western Idaho to see how much energy they used. It’s the first research of its kind in the country -- and it’s attracting attention.
Liz Paul of Idaho Rivers United says the group hopes the information gives the public a new way of thinking about the water they use.
“People don’t always think about when they run their shower, when they flush their toilet," Paul says. "They think about water...but they don’t think about energy. So our report demonstrates that there is a significant amount of energy embedded in water.”
Paul says domestic homes in Western Idaho alone consumed 1 billion kilowatt hours of energy through water use. That could power more than 79,000 homes for a year.
Mark Snider is with the Boise-based water company, United Water of Idaho. He says saving energy through water conservation is good for customers, his company, and their combined energy footprint.
“Not only do they see that reflected in their water bill," Snider says. "But it reduces the amount of energy that the utility is required to produce and move this water throughout the system.”
John Devoe is with Water Watch in Oregon. He says the research offers a fresh approach to water conservation. Some water treatment facilities in Oregon are already doing something about their energy use. They’ve recently installed solar panels to power their plants.
Idaho Rivers United suggest a few ways homeowners can save on both water and energy consumption: Take shorter hot-water showers. Install water efficient appliances and toilets.