Thirst for Power: The Global Nexus of Energy and Water

AIChE Webinar
Originally delivered May 28, 2014

In this presentation, Dr. Webber builds from his extensive body of research, his course lectures, and his congressional testimony to share his perspective on the global nexus of energy and water to outline trends while identifying technical and policy options that might mitigate the challenges.

Energy and water are precious, global resources, and they are interconnected. The energy sector uses a lot of water -- the thermoelectric power sector alone is the largest user of water in the U.S., withdrawing 200 billion gallons daily for powerplant cooling. Conversely, the water sector is responsible for about twelve percent of national energy consumption for moving, pumping, treating, and heating water. This interdependence means that droughts can cause energy shortages, and power outages can bring the water system to a halt.

Given recent trends towards increasingly water-intensive energy and energy-intensive water, the problems might become more extreme if the currently segregated funding, policymaking, and oversight paradigm of these resources are not integrated.  
 

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