This study demonstrates how a climate-driven approach to modelling the relationship between water and energy systems in the Southwestern United States can help inform policymakers when determining conservation options under various climate scenarios.

Using SEI’s trademark Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) tool, researchers created a detailed representation of California’s water supply and demand network. They projected how much energy would be used to supply water under drought and regional warming scenarios, and how these might be affected by water conservation policies.

The state of California already uses WEAP for water allocation and policy planning purposes. Because of that, researchers tested the tool’s ability to measure the water, energy and cost implications of conservation, as well as what level of conservation could stop overdraft of groundwater reserves.

With this data, policymakers can use the tool to quantify what kinds of water policies can help California achieve water and energy conservation targets.