Tackling water needs for energy production
Lots of water is used in the production of energy, from gasoline, natural gas, and solar, to wind, coal, and nuclear. In fact, energy is the largest water withdrawer in the United States. Although some of this water is lost or “consumed”, much of it is returned to the ecosystem it came from, though often in a modified condition (warmer, more polluted, and so on).
In the U.S., approximately 90 percent of our energy is generated by thermoelectric power plants that use fossil or nuclear power to boil water for steam to turn turbines and generate electricity. An estimated 33 percent of total freshwater withdrawals are for thermoelectric power according to USGS. Reducing reliance on thermoelectric power makes sense, though not necessarily if the alternative is more dams to generate hydropower.
Given that we all need energy, what is the solution? Choose products that are energy efficient, promote energy conservation in our homes and businesses, prioritize energy options that are the least harmful on the environment. Companies must be part of this equation too.