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No Water, No Energy

Few companies have integrated energy/water strategies


Few companies have energy strategies and water strategies, and even less have integrated energy/water strategies. When examined separately, the competitions for energy and freshwater each raise serious concerns about economic development, national security, and public well-being. But taken together, these concerns can be multiplied several-fold because the subjects of energy and water are inseparable.

While businesses and governments have grown accustomed to competing for energy, they are not so accustomed to vying for another essential resource: freshwater. It takes vast amounts of water to extract, process, and produce many forms of energy, and it takes vast amounts of energy to extract, transport and treat water. The interrelationship between water and energy goes around and around. Increasing demands on water from the private and public sectors are impacting the world’s ability to meet its energy needs. In parallel, the need for more water for agricultural, industrial and domestic uses requires more energy. A constraint in either resource limits the other, and this nexus of supply and demand poses substantial risks for virtually every government and every type of business.

Water for Energy includes:

  • Extraction and Refining
  • Fuel Production (ethanol, hydrogen)
  • Hydropower
  • Thermo-electic Cooling

Energy for Water includes:

  • Wastewater Treatment
  • Energy Associated with Uses of Water
  • Drinking Water Treatment
  • Extraction and Transmission

If there is one lesson to be learned from the increasing demands on these resources, it is that neither energy or water can be thought of in a silo. Moving ahead, this shift in mindset from competition to collaboration is anticipated to be essential to avoiding collisions and maintaining a free flow of opportunities at the intersection of water and energy.

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