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Report Highlights Western Water, Energy Challenges

KUNC file photo

A new report by the Oakland-based water think tank the Pacific Institute warns that climate change and continuing drought will put a further strain on energy production in Rocky Mountain states like Colorado.  The report, “Water for Energy,” concludes that water scarcity in the inter-mountain West will continue to pose problems for electricity production unless a set of concrete action steps are taken. 


Heather Cooley, the report's lead author, says many western power plants and other energy producers such as oil and gas operations aren’t implementing as many conservation tools as they could.

"By adopting dry cooling, by expanding energy efficiency improvements and having greater reliance on renewables, we can dramatically reduce the water requirements for electricity generation in the West, and therefore reduce our vulnerability to future water supply constraint," Cooley said.

The report also warns the problems will be exacerbated with more people moving to a region with less and less water. 

Colorado’s population is forecast to increase by more than 30% by 2030.  The report says Nevada and Arizona’s could double by then. 

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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