Water Fight: Houses vs Agriculture vs Power Plants
The biggest crop in the Southwestern US is houses, as the suburbs and exurbs expand, and we often wonder what will power their necessary air conditioners. Now we learn that the power plants that make the electricity are huge consumers of water, used for cooling and scrubbing pollution. By 2030 power plants could be consuming up to 60% of non-farm water.
According to the Christian Science Monitor: The potential collision of water, energy, and climate is not limited to the US. "This is a big issue in other arid and semi-arid parts of the world," says Christopher Flavin, president of the Worldwatch Institute, a nonprofit environmental think tank in Washington. The challenge is especially acute in China and India. India already faces serious water shortages around the country, he says. And in China, he says, the central government is losing control over energy planning as local governments drive the push for more power plants. In the future, if climate forecasts are correct, the demand for thermoelectric power could continue to grow as mountain glaciers melt, reducing the amount of electricity hydroelectric dams downstream can generate.