Recognition is growing in and outside of the energy industry in California about how water use directly affects energy resources and vice versa. Some think that the importance of joint resource conservation is only an issue in the Western states, which are suffering from droughts. \u201cBut, it is becoming a major issue worldwide,\u201d Mike Hightower with the Sandia National Labs, said during a Nov. 19 session of the National Association of Utility Regulatory Commissioners annual meeting. He noted that the Department of Energy now considers joint water-energy savings projects a top funding area\u2014possibly eligible for up to $75- $100 million by the department\u2019s Water-Energy Team. Large amounts of electricity and natural gas are used to move, treat, heat and chill water. California Public Utilities Commissioner member Catherine Sandoval noted that her agency is working on a methodology for determining the energy savings reaped from water conservation measures, such as low-flow showerheads. She said the difficulty of measuring the joint savings has created barriers to joint resource efficiency efforts. Sandoval asked regulators from other states and water-energy nexus experts whether they considered the cost effectiveness of joint conservation measures important. Sandia\u2019s Hightower said that assessment should be made when determining alternate sources of fresh water supplies. For example, he said it was more cost-effective to build energy- intensive seawater desalination plants in Los Angeles and San Francisco than boring holes under the Tehachapi Mountains. (For decades, much of the water flowing from the state\u2019s largest rivers in Northern California is shipped up and over the Tehachapis.) Walter Lynch, California Water chief executive officer, agreed about the need to understand the cost effectiveness of water- energy savings. He pointed to significant cost savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions from efficiency projects that his company executed. He noted for example, how increasing the efficiency of water pumps from the current average of 55 percent to 80 percent reduces customer costs and carbon emissions. The company increased the efficiency of 140 of its 7,500 pumps by replacing or upgrading them at a cost of $12 million. That cut its annual energy use 12 million kWh and slashed 18 million tons of carbon emissions. The private water utility, which operates in Monterey and several other cities in California, also is evaluating lowering pressure in its water pipes to save energy and increase pipe longevity. Water and energy for some states also have grown in importance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency\u2019s Clean Power Plan. The agency seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the nation\u2019s existing fossil fuel power plant fleet by 30 percent below the 2005 emissions level by 2030. States are given flexibility to meet emission reduction targets. A source of water supply in Arizona, for example, is the 65-mile Central Arizona Project, The water is moved and treated with energy from coal-fired plants in Northern Arizona. Susan Bitter Smith, with the Arizona utilities commission, said state regulators traditionally have not looked at the impact of energy costs on water rates. \u201cWe need to more aggressively ask about that,\u201d she said.