Thirst for Power: The Global Nexus of Energy and Water

Originally delivered May 28, 2014
Developed by: AIChE
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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.  


Michael Webber

As Deputy Director of the Energy Institute, Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator, Josey Centennial Fellow in Energy Resources, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Michael E. Webber trains the next generation of energy leaders at the University of Texas at Austin through research and education at the convergence of engineering, policy, and commercialization. He has authored more than 200 publications, holds 4 patents, and serves on the advisory board for Scientific American. His television special Energy at the Movies is currently in national syndication on...Read more

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