Last week, representatives of more than 190 nations agreed to an unprecedented global climate agreement that establishes a long-term, durable framework to address one of the gravest threats facing humanity. As the President said, the agreement in Paris creates a mechanism for us to continually tackle climate change in an effective way and begin the next phase of building a low-carbon, climate-resilient future while generating new jobs and industries.
That’s why today the Administration is taking action to build upon the tremendous progress we’ve made here at home by announcing a new public-private water innovation strategy. This strategy includes an aggressive two-part approach led by Federal agencies to address the impacts of climate change on the use and supply of our nation’s water resources and calls on private sector and other stakeholder groups to help significantly scale up research and investment in water efficiency solutions. The Administration’s new water innovation strategy calls for:
- Boosting water sustainability and long-term water security by increasing use of water-efficient and -reuse technologies. By continuing to support efforts by our businesses, industries, and communities to make efficient use of water—especially in water-stressed regions—and through better management practices and technology, we have potential to considerably reduce water usage by 33 percent. This would bring us closer in line with other industrialized nations, and could reduce the nation’s total CO2 emissions by about 1.5 percent annually.
- Promoting and investing in breakthrough research and development (R&D) that will reduce the price, energy costs, and emissions requirements of new water supply technology to achieve “pipe parity” in the next decade. High costs currently prohibit most communities from turning non-traditional water sources like seawater or brackish water into fresh water. Through new ambitious technical targets for cost-competitive new supplies of water from nontraditional sources, we can reach “pipe parity,” meaning costs equal to those from current processes for delivering fresh water. The technical targets include reducing the cost by four times, reducing electricity usage by three times, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by two times.