Fresh water consumption for world energy production is projected to double within the next 25 years

30 January, 2013
Marianne Lavelle and Thomas K. Grose of National Geographic

"The amount of fresh water consumed for world energy production is on track to double within the next 25 years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects.

And even though fracking—high-pressure hydraulic fracturing of underground rock formations for natural gas and oil—might grab headlines, IEA sees its future impact as relatively small.

By far the largest strain on future water resources from the energy system, according to IEA's forecast, would be due to two lesser noted, but profound trends in the energy world: soaring coal-fired electricity, and the ramping up of biofuel production."

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At the same time energy demand is strongly increasing. China for example burns nearly as much coal as all other nations combined, including coal shipped from the U.S.. (

Also, certain types of bioenergy have a large water footprint. This is a study that can be used to select the crops and countries that produce bioenergy in the most water-efficient way:
Gerbens-Leenes, W., Hoekstra, A.Y. and Van der Meer, T.H. (2009) The water footprint of bioenergy, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106 (25): 10219-10223

Which sustainable options/strategies/solutions are available?