Water Constraints on Energy Production: altering our current collision course
Synapses Energy Economics Civil Society Institute 2013.
Currently, 97 percent of the United State’s electricity comes from thermoelectric or hydroelectric generators, which rely on vast quantities of water to produce electricity. Thermoelectric plants are major water users; they withdraw 41 percent of the nation’s fresh water—more than any other sector. Electric-sector impacts on water quality are significant, and are likely to increase if the United States continues to rely heavily on thermoelectric power plants to meet energy needs. This study has identified several information gaps that need to be filled in order to support energy planning, regulations, and policymaking that fully account for water constraints and impacts. This report finds that the U.S. is spending a water budget without understanding how much water is available or what the use of water in energy production will mean for local communities, agriculture, or other commercial uses.