We worry about our energy supply but there is an interrelated supply that needs our attention as well. Water will be the next source of contention. We've seen the droughts in Africa and water shortages in Georgia but nothing compared to what's about to happen on a larger scale.
Local and state governments have attempted to allocate water rights, but their efforts have been piecemeal and often short-sighted. In the absence of a coherent policy for protecting water resources, supplies are depleted, and what is left becomes more and more polluted by industrial, agricultural, and biological waste products. In fact, the Great Plains is on the brink of a water crisis, a silent crisis that threatens the health of people, environments, and economies.
Here's a pie chart of how we use our water:
As you can see there is a definite interrelationship between water and the production of energy. Our power plants use massive amounts of water and yet with the ever growing demand due to population growth more power plants are due to be built. Then there's the large amounts used in the production of coal, gas and oil. To add insult to injury we're removing about 4% more water than is being replenished.
The planet is 3/4 water but less than about 1% is usable. Desalinization you say? That takes a large amount of energy which in turn takes a large amount of water.
(From a Dept. of Energy report)
Competition for fresh water is already limiting energy production. For example, Georgia Power lost a bid to draw water from the Chattahoochee River, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered a Massachusetts power plant to reduce its water withdrawals, Idaho has denied water rights requests for several power plants, Duke Power warned Charlotte, NC to reduce its water use, and a Pennsylvania nuclear power plant is planning to use wastewater from coal mines. Other utilities are warning of a power crunch if water availability is reduced.
I'm seeing large corporations buy up water rights and buying city water. They expect me to pay 100 times the rate for the same water I get out of my tap. The plastic bottle which can't be recycled back into bottles costs far more than the water inside. And here's another thing to consider, bottled water isn't checked for chemicals and bacteria but once per week while your water district checks tap water daily.
So you see why energy conservation is more important than ever right now. The more energy we use the more water will be needed to produce that energy and less water for personal use. Note when your paying the bills what's usually one of the smallest bills. Not for long if corporations have their way.
For a real eye opening documentary check out Blue Gold