National policy is needed to achieve combined water and energy savings, witnesses said at a July 25 subcommittee hearing of the U.S Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. In short supply are critical research and data revealing the energy impacts of water usage--from treatment to delivery--except in California. \u201cThis water and energy nexus is most easily understood by the principle that every drop of water saved in the U.S. conserves energy, and every unit of energy saved conserves water,\u201d said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), chair of the Water & Energy Subcommittee. The chair and witnesses pointed out how water and energy efficiency traditionally are viewed in isolation--handled by separate entities. They noted that energy efficiency receives far more attention and funding than water conservation. Part of the problem is that while there is a federal Department of Energy there is no federal Department of Water, noted Mary Ann Dickinson, Alliance for Water Efficiency president. California has been the only state in the nation to assess and measure the energy impact of water use. The California Energy Commission found in 2005 that 20 percent of the state\u2019s electricity and 30 percent of its natural gas supplies are used to move, treat, and heat water supplies. There is considerable loss of energy and water from leaking water infrastructure around the country. Nearly 60 percent of electricity and 20 percent of water are lost before water is delivered, according to the National Institute of Building Sciences. \u201cWe need to update and improve our water delivery systems,\u201d Shaheen said. Another barrier to reaping the benefits of combined water and energy conservation, as well as reductions in greenhouse gases, is the low participation in a uniform green plumbing code and the scant return on water savings technology investments. Using the uniform water efficient plumbing codes, according to Russ Chaney, chief executive officer for Ontario, CA-based IAPMO Group, produces water savings in residential and commercial buildings 35 percent below existing building codes. \u201cEnergy and water costs are dramatically different,\u201d Chaney added. \u201cWater is very cheap.\u201d As a result, investing in water savings technologies produces a small financial return, he added. Strategies for curbing water use include conservation and allowing an expanded use of reclaimed water. Other strategies for increasing water savings to save energy discussed at the hearing included: -Adding a provision into Shaheen\u2019s Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act directing DOE to conduct a study on the economic and environmental benefits of reducing water use and simultaneous energy savings; -Directing DOE to fund and encourage more water savings; -Expanding building codes and standards aimed at curbing water consumption; and -Increasing water metering in place of flat rates.