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MPC and Openlands Roundtable - Down the Drain, Up in Smoke: Exploring the Water-Energy Nexus in the Chicago Region

A Google search for "water-energy nexus" delivers 196,000 hits, and for good reason. The U.S. Dept. of Energy estimates that 4 percent of the nation's energy use is attributable to drinking water and wastewater systems (pumping, treatment, and disposal). At the local level, this percentage can be much, much higher. Here in Illinois, water systems can account for as much as 75 percent of a municipal government's energy use, and 50 percent of a utility's budget.

Water use drives energy use, and energy use affects our impact on the global climate. This is both a challenge and an opportunity. If energy conservation and emissions reductions are monetized through a cap-and-trade system, it could provide revenue to make water conservation more financially attractive for public and private utilities.

Join the Metropolitan Planning Council and Openlands for “Down the Drain, Up in Smoke: Exploring the Water-Energy Nexus in the Chicago Region,” to learn how these inextricable connections operate and what solutions are at hand.

The second event in the summer series "Choosing our Water Future," this roundtable explores:

*The energy demands of water systems, and the water demands of energy production,
*The impact of energy costs for water consumption on municipal budgets in northeastern Illinois,
*The potential for monetization of water-energy savings, and
*National and international best practices in utility planning and water-energy conservation.


Dr. Michael Webber, Associate Director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy in the Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas. One of the nation's foremost energy policy leaders, Dr. Webber's work has been featured in notable media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BBC, and Scientific American. He is one of the originators of Austin's Pecan Street Project, a community-led effort to reinvent the city's electricity and water utilities through innovation and implementation of smart grids, smart meters, and smart appliances.

Mary Ann Dickinson, President, Alliance for Water Efficiency

Bill Abolt, Director, Chicago Office, Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure Group

Jeffrey Edstrom, Senior Water Resources Manager, Environmental Consulting an Technology, Inc.


Recorded Tuesday, August 03, 2010 at Metropolitan Planning Council Conference Center.

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