The Intimate Relationship of Water and Energy
"The decisions we make about energy will impact water supply," states Scripps Oceanographic Institute's Dr. Michael Dettinger during the the 2010 Toyota Sustainable Mobility Seminar in La Jolla, California. Conversely, water availability also impacts the amount of energy we will have; and when you take into account climate change, significant regions of the world could see dramatic drops in thermo-electric and hydroelectric power production. The Colorado Rockies could see as much as a 50% drop in hydroelectric power output due to changing climate; and that is based on one of the cooler climate change models, he emphasizes.
That's the underlying message of Dr. Dettinger's presentation, during which he also explains that just the acquisition, treatment and distribution of water takes enormous amounts of energy. According to a study by the California Energy Commission, it can take between 2,000 and 20,000 kWh of electric power to move one million gallons of water through the water cycle. This, of course, not only impacts water available to energy production -- including nuclear power and conventional coal-fired thermal plants -- but also for crop irrigation, as well as human consumption and manufacturing.
Bottom line: when it comes to water and energy, "we can't have solutions for one without taking the other into account."
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