September 19, 2011--How energy drains water supplies (New York Times)

Planners must pay more attention to how much water is needed in energy production. “Water and energy are really linked,” said Henrik Larsen, a water policy expert with the DHI Group, a research and consulting firm based in Denmark. “If you save water, you save energy, and vice-versa.” Experts call this the “water-energy nexus.” It takes huge quantities of water to produce electricity from a plant powered by nuclear energy or fossil fuels, and it also takes lots of energy to pump and process the water that irrigates fields and supplies cities. In the United States, 4 percent of all fresh water is consumed in the energy sector, and 3 percent of all electricity used daily goes toward water and wastewater pumping, distribution, and treatment, according to Mike Hightower, a member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories. A big problem, experts say, is that water is often taken for granted.

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