Kristine Lofgren

Scientists Warn That an “Insurmountable” Water Crisis Will Grip the Planet by 2040

by , 08/02/14

water supply, water shortage, US water supply, US water shortage, power water use, dirty power water use, dirty power, nonrenewable energy, renewable energy, wind energy, Texas wind energy, Texas renewable energy, water crisis, US water crisis, US water supply issues, water demand, US water demand

A new report warns that in less than three decades, the United States (and the rest of the world) could face a full-blown water crisis if we don’t change the way we generate power. As the population increases, so does water consumption and power usage. Right now, energy production is the biggest water guzzler in the country – slurping 41% of all freshwater. Unless the country moves to less water-hungry power sources like wind and solar by 2030, water needs could grow to the point where there is a huge gap between what is needed and what is available, plunging the planet into a water crisis.

water supply, water shortage, US water supply, US water shortage, power water use, dirty power water use, dirty power, nonrenewable energy, renewable energy, wind energy, Texas wind energy, Texas renewable energy, water crisis, US water crisis, US water supply issues, water demand, US water demand

According to a study conducted by CNA Corporation, over the past century, water needs have increased six-times and population by half of that. If those trends continue, there will be an insurmountable 40% gap between supply and need. Normally when demand outstrips supply, you can just raise the price, but when it comes to water, it doesn’t work that way.

Related: Experts Warn That World’s Energy Infrastructure is Vulnerable to Climate Change

While much of the water used in power production is returned to the environment, some of it is lost in the process and some if it becomes contaminated or otherwise rendered unusable. Coupled with an increase demand from local populations, it’s evident that water will become an increasingly important commodity – one that we can’t afford to waste on dirty fuel production.

The study focused on Texas in the US because of its increasing population and variety of power sources. The data revealed that the state’s wind power production helped to keep the juice running during a drought in 2011. Otherwise the state would have experienced blackouts during the summer that year, which indicates that if states would move to whatever renewable resource works best in the area, it could go a long way to easing the looming water crisis.

Via Al Jazeera

Lead image via Shutterstock, image via Doug Wertman

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3 Comments

  1. Paul Maheux August 3, 2014 at 9:17 am

    “solar powered desalination plants with some pipelines”
    Perfect answer.

  2. Cool Daddy August 3, 2014 at 2:45 am

    Every recommendation to meet a new power challenge, such as cultivating the deserts, seems to require untested, very convoluted solutions. For a short period we have, with fossil, been able to take the maximum, for soaring living standards, on a soaring global population, never acknowledging, that the effects of our fossil civilisation, was based on an established ecological pattern, now apparently passing, mainly at our doing. Fracking has taken the sting out of the Peak Oil debate, which more correctly should be called the Peak Power debate. Yet among other threats to and doubts over fracking, the immense water supply for the extraction process is undergoing change, and riddled with uncertainty, given what we do with power, which includes as if there is no tomorrow.

  3. GregoryP July 31, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    We have 3/4 of the worlds water in the ocean, and all it takes is some solar powered desalination plants with some pipelines to remedy this \”crisis\”. The water we have, it justs need some processing. What we really need next is to water the deserts of the world and grow more food (with the byproduct of the plants soaking up more carbon dioxide).

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