We often talk about the "energy-water nexus", recognizing that pumping, cleaning and treating water is a significant contributor to energy use. In 2015, water conservation programs in California reduced water use by more than 20%, but the energy savings and subsequent GHG reductions weren't quantified, until now.
In a new study of the California drought, researchers show that "the decrease in water usage translated into a significant electricity saving of 1,830 gigawatt hours (GWh). Interestingly, those savings were around 11 percent greater than those achieved by investor-owned electricity utilities' efficiency programs over the same period."
The study goes on to note that the water-saving strategies are similar in cost to programs that directly target energy reductions, so we will likely see more integrated energy/water conservation programs in the future. And that's good news!