Understanding the connection between water and energy is crucial for sustainable development. Water is a pillar for our well-being and is the main ingredient for everything from energy generation, cooling power plants, and transportation to agriculture and medicine. The use of one resource impacts the availability and demand for the other, making it vital to balance their use.
A lack of water and energy literacy due to insufficient educational programs often leads to overconsumption and wasteful habits. To complicate things further, the ability to access water at the click of a button from our refrigerators or a quick stop at the grocery store has made our water resources seem unlimited. Communities need to understand the consequences of buying products and participating in activities that consume water in an unsustainable manner.
“It’s important for students to learn about water and energy because we use them in our everyday life. Even just turning on a light switch, most people don’t realize how water is used in that process.” – Natalia Lopez, Engineering Student, the University of Texas San Antonio.
World Water Day 2023 is taking on the challenge of defeating the water crisis by demonstrating its importance and urging people to take action. So, in honor of this important day, CPS Energy, SAWS, Itron, Inc., and Smart Energy Education joined forces to bring students a unique learning experience surrounding water and energy, hosted by The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.
The event took place on March 21’st, 2023, and was attended by local utility leaders, President and CEO of SAWS Robert Puente, Director of Climate Strategy and Sustainability Andela Rodriguez, and even SAWS’ Running Toilet Mascot and special guest The Spurs Coyote joined in. The event was an eye-opening educational experience, brought together as part of the Smart Energy Education initiative, featuring a free screening of the water and energy documentary Thirst for Power, followed by a live panel session composed of the student’s peers that discussed the impact of water and energy use on the environment, health, and our modern way of life.
“We understand that our population is going to double by 2050 at least, and we recognize that there may be droughts in the future. You can’t solve these problems right before they occur. You have to get ready for them. You have to plan for them” – Robert R. Puente, President, and CEO, San Antonio Water System.
The students were introduced to renewable energy sources such as hydropower and the importance of water conservation for energy generation and cooling in power plants. While additionally learning about the actions they could take to conserve water and energy in their daily lives and the incredible careers in the energy sector that are essential for a sustainable future.
“Students my age and younger are going to be the ones taking care of the environment in the future just as adults are now. We need to come up with innovative solutions for our fight against climate change” – Catalina Leal, Mayor’s Youth Engagement for Climate Change.
Overall, the event was a great success, raising awareness about the importance of water and energy conservation and empowering San Antonio students to become stewards in the fight for a healthy planet. The knowledge gained from the event will hopefully allow participants to make informed decisions in their daily lives and contribute to their efforts toward sustainability. Additionally, the screening aimed to inspire students to take on water and energy-related careers that will enable them to take control of their future and create lasting change each day.
“Smart Energy Education is using community partnerships to teach the students today that are going to be the future leaders about ways to be smart about their energy use. Today particularly is about the connection between water and energy use and how when you save one, you save the other.” – Angela Rodriguez, Director of Climate Strategy and Sustainability, CPS Energy.
Smart Energy Education is constantly working to bring the public educational resources and opportunities surrounding water and energy. We are confident that understanding the world’s most significant obstacles starts with understanding our natural resources’ role in our lives. Taking action is the key to a prosperous and sustainable life. Visit Smart Energy Education to discover more about water and energy resources and to learn about the amazing careers that could give you the power to make a greater difference.