By Mr Dennis K. Bohannon (ASA(IEE))December 9, 2011
PENTAGON, Washington D.C. (Dec. 8, 2011) -- Principal Deputy for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations Energy and Environment testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power, focused on exploring opportunities and challenges facing domestic and global water supplies.
"We are especially grateful for this Committee's interest in the Army's energy and water reduction programs," Principal Deputy Jerry Hansen told Chairwoman Senator Jeanne Shaheen.
Shaheen applauded the Army's efforts, saying "Our Armed Forces have often been trailblazers in figuring out how to do more with less, and the Army's Net Zero Initiative for water is an impressive example from which we all can learn."
Hansen noted that the Army is proud to lead the way in meeting water intensity reductions in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. "Our installation water intensity has dropped from 57.6 gallons/per gross square foot in 2007, to 48.8 in 2010," He said.
"The centerpiece of our program to appropriately manage our natural resources is our Net Zero program. A Net Zero Water Installation limits the consumption of freshwater resources and returns water back to the same watershed so as not to deplete the groundwater and surface water resources of that region in quantity and quality over the course of a year. We have pilot installations identified in Net Zero energy and Net Zero waste as well," said Hansen.
During his opening statement, Hansen said that in addition to the net zero initiative, (the Army's) water security mission makes water a consideration in all Army activities to increase efficiency, reduce demand, seek alternative sources, and create a culture of water accountability while sustaining or enhancing operational capabilities. "For example," he said, "Installation Management Command, will be holding users accountable to modernize facilities, install new technologies, and leverage partnerships that can provide an increased level of water security. This will lead to increased sustainability, a more resilient water-related infrastructure, and enhanced mission assurance."
Senator Shaheen convened the hearing to explore the opportunities and challenges facing domestic and global water supplies. The panel of environmental, military, public, and private officials was asked how they believed issues such as national security, energy, health, climate change, and technological innovation will be affected by water supplies in both the United States and across the world in the years to come.
Shaheen said, globally, the figures on water use are astounding. She cited a U.S. Geological Survey which estimates Americans use about 100 gallons of water per day.
"The majority of our daily water use helps generate electricity at our nation's power plants, with over 200 billion gallons of water used in this sector alone," she said.
"Globally, agricultural water use accounts for nearly 70 percent of all water withdrawals.
"When we consider that the world's population is expected to grow from 7 billion to over 10 billion people by 2050, we quickly realize that the successful management of our water resources is critical."