It can be argued that the two most important resources for the world are water and energy. Water and energy production are interconnected. Energy is used throughout the water production and distribution system to supply water to its various end users.
Water is essential to the production of energy. Water is used to cool power generation plants, flows through turbines at hydroelectric dams, irrigates crops used to produce biofuels, and is pumped underground to crack open rock formations allowing oil and gas to flow to the surface via the wellbore.
The role of water in the energy sector is critical as many future sources of fossil fuels, including oil sands and unconventional natural gas and oil reserves, are water intensive to induce production. Other energy sources that may be useful for carbon capture and storage, biofuels, and nuclear power, also require large volumes of water.
It is estimated that agriculture uses 70% of all freshwater withdrawals whereas energy uses only 8% of freshwater withdrawals. However, growing populations and growing demand from other industries will likely squeeze energy’s already thin share of water, especially in those parts of the world experiencing water scarcity.