A water footprint is ‘the volume of water needed for the production of goods and services consumed by the inhabitants of the country’ (Hoekstra and Chapagain 2007, 35). Furthermore, a water footprint is measured by the type of water source utilised, with ‘blue water’ representing consumption of surface and groundwater.
We often don’t consider lights, electronics, and appliances as major water consumers but energy production is the second largest consumer of freshwater resources in the world. It is imperative to understand and investigate the characteristics of water use in power production to completely understand which risk mitigation measures to apply
By 2035, the world’s energy consumption will increase by 35 percent, which will increase water requirements by 15 percent according to the International Energy Agency. In terms of power generation, a study found that geothermal and hydroelectric energy systems use the least amount of water, while nuclear power production uses the most. Energy generation technologies like photovoltaics, wind power, and run-of-the-river hydroelectricity consume relatively small amounts of water, but reservoir hydropower for instance, has a massive water footprint.
Huge quantities of water are needed to cool down power producing equipment. This can amount to approximately 52 billion cubic meters of freshwater withdrawals, annually for global energy production. The average home needs more cubic meters of water per day for ‚electricity production than for normal household purposes. Rising aridity is of major concern to renewable, non-renewable power production and the rapidly increasing manufacturing sector of southern African regions. Energy system development planning will benefit communities by virtue of highlighting the inefficiencies relating to water use and the incorporation of water stress perspectives. Organisations have to increase efforts to pin water resources as significant component in future energy transition modelling.
Speak to our team about your water and energy supply or project management needs or challenges – and we’ll ensure to find the optimal solution to guard energy consumption and increase your water supply.