Thursday, March 12, 2009


I have always heard that the real reason nuclear (touted as the carbonless energy source) isn't viable is because there isn't enough water to keep reactors cool. And I knew traditional power plants used water to keep cool too (notice, they're almost always on a lake or river?).

And I also know that water is very energy-intensive to treat and transport. In the United States and other developed nations, on average, about 4% of total power generation is used to supply, purify, distribute and treat fresh water and wastewater.

A new World Economic Forum report draws the connection from water to energy to water and back to energy again. Saving one saves the other and vice versa. Maybe we should be looking at the two issues in tandem, rather than in a silo as we often do.

According to the report, the energy sector uses about 8% of all freshwater withdrawn worldwide and as much as 40% of freshwater withdrawn in developed countries.

As a result, water issues will impact future energy choices, and energy companies will increasingly be called upon to be partners in managing the world's water resources. As the report says, "Water is life, so we need to connect the dots on this critical issue for global policy-makers and leaders."

See the World Economic Forum's February 19 press release and the full report (PDF 2.8 MB).

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