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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/30/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Drinking water, energy demands gobbling up Earth's most precious resource

Researchers from Denmark's Aarhus University, Vermont Law School and the U.S.-funded Center for Naval Analyses Corporation have come out with a chilling prophecy. Due to heightened demand for drinking water and energy needs, "There will be no water by 2040 if we keep doing what we're doing today," according to researcher Benjamin Sovacool.

Hydroelectric energy needs are even larger than those demanded by agriculture, researchers said.

Hydroelectric energy needs are even larger than those demanded by agriculture, researchers said.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/30/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Drought, water needs, energy, agriculture, wind farms


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Sovacool, along with his colleagues say that the world will face "insurmountable" water crises in less than three decades, if it does not move away from water-intensive power production.

Widespread drought will occur unless action is taken soon, Sovacool, the director of the Center for Energy Technology at Aarhus University said in a press release.

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Internationally, there has been a three-fold population increase in the past century. There has been a six-fold increase in water consumption to accompany it. If trends in population and energy use continue, it could leave a 40 percent gap between water supply and demand by the year 2030.

The United States, along with the majority of most countries, energy production is the biggest source of water consumption. Hydroelectric energy needs are even larger than those demanded by agriculture, researchers said. In 2005, 41 percent of all freshwater consumed in the U.S. was for thermoelectric cooling. Power plants produce excess heat, requiring cooling cycles that use water. Only wind and solar voltaic energy production require minimal water.

"If we keep doing business as usual, we are facing an insurmountable water shortage - even if water was free, because it's not a matter of the price," Sovacool adds.

Researchers said nuclear power and coal - the power sources requiring the most water should be eventually replaced with more efficient methods, especially renewable sources like wind and solar, the report said.

"Electricity generation from thermoelectric power plants is inextricably linked to water resources at nearly all stages in the power production cycle, yet this critical constraint has been largely overlooked in policy and planning," the report said.

Texas was chosen by the researchers as an important case study as its population is predicted to grow from 25 million to 55 million by 2050, which will increase the competition for water and electricity.

Texas, highly prone to drought, gets 33 percent of its power from coal, 10 percent from nuclear and 48 percent from natural gas, according to the study. During the summer of 2011, Texas experienced the worst drought in state history. However - the state suffered no blackouts that summer was Texas' wind energy production. At least 10 percent of the state's energy needs were provided by wind that summer, up to 18 percent on some days, making it an important alternative to nuclear, coal and natural gas.

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