In a future of growing climate change impacts and water strains, the water implications of our electricity choices are way worth paying attention to. A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)-organized Energy and Water in a Warming World initiative (EW3) tells it like it is. Or like it will be. Or, actually, like it could be. Where we really head, it turns out, is all up to us.
Our lakes, rivers and aquifers are feeling pressure from a lot of quarters, and there are lots of ways we could be more water-smart in other areas—farms and cities, for example—to ease the pressure. Climate change by itself will also continue to be a serious factor in the next few decades.
The question is, from the perspective of the power sector, are we going to be making choices that make the situation better or worse? Cutting power plant water dependencies or sticking with approaches that have us racking up more energy-water collisions every summer for years to come?