News Feature | December 23, 2014

Texas Might Save Water Under Controversial EPA Power Plan

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome


Regulations proposed by the EPA to cut carbon emissions from power plants might also conserve large amounts of water in Texas.

The non-profit think tank CNA released a report in November stating that the EPA's so-called "Clean Power Plan" (CPP) would conserve water in Texas.

"Under the CPP, water consumption by the Texas power sector could be cut by more than 20 percent compared with water consumed in 2012. This is about 88,000 acre-feet per year," the report said.

Paul Faeth, the author of the report, said the findings could surprise people per the Texas Tribune. “People don’t often associate water conservation with [carbon] cuts, but for Texas, they work together.”

The EPA's proposal is unpopular among Texas Republicans.

"The federal proposal would require Texas power plants to slash emissions by as much as 195 billion pounds of carbon dioxide in the next 18 years, according to a Texas Tribune analysis. That 43 percent reduction is among the largest percentage of cuts required among states," the Tribune reported. Texas Republicans are expected to sue if the rules hit the books, according to the Tribune.

Can Texas even meet the targets proposed in the plan?

“We find that the state will be able to meet the final and interim targets with modest incremental effort,” the CNA study said, per the Tribune.

Water savings would be useful in drought-plagued Texas.

"Texas is periodically subject to severe drought. In 2011, the state experienced the worst single-year drought in its recorded history. Demand for electricity was at an all-time high and the water needed to cool the state's coal, nuclear, and gas power plants was in short supply. Texans were warned that rolling blackouts were possible. As of August 25, 2014, 59 percent of the state was still under moderate to extreme drought," the CNA report said.

For more on power industry-related water issues, check out Water Online's Power Generation Solution Center.

Image credit: "Power Plant," FromSandtoGlass © 2013, used under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license: