New Research Shows Massive Water Savings If California Phased Out Fossil Fuels for Renewables

Food & Water Watch calculates California would need 99% less water for energy generation via renewable energy than from fossil fuels

New research finds that if California phased out fossil fuels for renewable energy sources like PV solar and wind, the state could save 82 million cubic meters of water per year that currently supply fossil fuel and nuclear power generation. That represents a 99% decrease in California’s yearly water withdrawals for electrical generation from fossil fuels while producing the same amount of energy. 

The new Food & Water Watch research, “Thirsty Fossil Fuels: Potential for Huge Water Savings By Switching to Renewables,” details state and national numbers highlighting the need for immediate action to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.

Environmental advocates have long criticized Governor Newsom’s sluggish response to the drought as well as his lack of bold action to phase out fossil fuels — particularly his willingness to extend the lifetime of gas fired power plants, also intensive water users.

“Fossil fuels not only pollute our planet and hasten global warming, they also use up massive amounts of water,” said Food & Water Watch Research Director Amanda Starbuck. “California in particular could benefit immensely from a swift transition to less thirsty energy. The only tradeoff in switching from fossil fuels to renewables is positive: you can produce the same amount of energy while freeing up water for households, agriculture and other beneficial uses. Governor Newsom has every reason to end California’s dependence on fossil fuel energy and transition to renewables immediately.”

The research details the pitfalls of carbon capture, another water-intensive “false solution” favored by the fossil fuel industry and recently touted by Newsom amid environmental backlash

Contact: Peter Hart – [email protected]