Pacific Institute Responds to the CFWC's
Attack on "Energy Down the Drain"
NOTE: The Pacific Institute and the
NRDC published "Energy Down the Drain," a report
that looks at the connections between water use, energy
use, and air pollution in August of 2004. Soon after, the
California Farm Water Coalition published a criticism
(new window) of our report that misrepresents our conclusions
and our work. We have published the statement below in response.
[12/04/04] The Pacific Institute welcomes
the California Farm Water Coalition's (CFWC) scrutiny of
our recent report,
"Energy Down the Drain," which was co-produced
with the NRDC.
We are, however, extremely disappointed that
Mike Wade, Executive Director of the CFWC, makes inaccurate
and false comments about our organization and our work in
an effort to rebut the content of the report.
Our report's message is clear and irrefutable:
Water use decisions can have significant energy impacts.
Being aware of this connection can help to reduce energy
use and cut the amount of pollution in our skies. And indeed,
Mr. Wade leaves this central assertion unchallenged.
Instead, Mr. Wade claims that we are making
this point because we "want farmer's water" for
environmental purposes. On the contrary, one could conclude,
based on our report, that water for the environment should
come from cities since that would often yield higher energy
savings. Or one might conclude that agriculture-to-urban
water transfers are a bad idea because they often increase
energy use, a point which "protects" farm water.
We leave these types of conclusions to readers; our point
is that the energy dimensions of water management are significant
and need to be considered.
Mr. Wade makes another serious error when
he claims that the Pacific Institute is "bent on establishing
a conservation approach to all water use in an effort to
prevent the development of additional water supplies..."
As we have clearly stated in a wide range of publications
and presentations we are not opposed to new water infrastructure
once more cost-effective efficiency improvements have been
made -- nor are we opposed to projects focused on increasing
the reliability and flexibility of our existing water system.
We do, however, oppose spending scarce taxpayer money irresponsibly
on boondoggles that bring few benefits. We also oppose subsidies
that hurt California's economy.
"Energy Down the Drain" asks policy
makers and water users to think about energy use when making
decisions about water issues. Better understanding this
relationship will help us make better decisions - benefiting
everyone across the state.
While we welcome open and honest discussion
about any of the issues we work on, Mr. Wades' attacks against
our work and our organization are irresponsible, inaccurate,
and baseless. Despite his distortions, we look forward to
working with the majority of responsible farmers, urban
users, water agencies, and other stakeholders to fashion
a cost-effective, sustainable, and equitable approach to
managing California's water.
Dr. Gary H. Wolff, Principal Economist and
Dr. Peter Gleick, President