The World Bank has announced the launch of its “Thirsty Energy” initiative, aimed at helping governments tackle growing water-energy challenges, at the 7th annual World Future Energy Summit (WFES) and the 2nd annual International Water Summit (IWS). The two meetings are running concurrently, Jan. 20 – Jan. 22, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre in the United Arab Emirates.
It takes a lot of water to generate power through various processes, and it takes a lot of power to extract, treat and deliver water. Yet, according to the World Bank, energy planning and development decisions are often made without regard to current and future water shortages. Its plan is to offer proactive, cross-sector advice on energy and water resource management planning, tailored according to a given country’s resources, modeling experience, and political and institutional realities.
Why go to all that trouble? Because near-future projections paint a disturbing picture. Today more than 780 million people don’t have enough access to potable drinking water, and about 1.3 billion lack electricity, according to estimates. In a world with a fixed and finite amount of freshwater but a surging population, global energy consumption is expected to swell 50% by 2035, while the energy sector’s use of water may increase by 85%. That means worsening water shortages, and, as noted in a previous post, climate change will make the situation even more dire in certain areas.
UPDATE: Thirsty energy: the conflict between demands for water and energy – The Guardian
More from WFES and IWS:
World Bank launches “Thirsty Energy” initiative – The World Bank / WFES
Will water contrain our energy future? (Thirsty Energy initiative, with extensive info graphics) – The World Bank
Four ways water shortages are harming energy production – The Water Blog (blogs.worldbank.org)
Denmark and Abu Dhabi sign clean-energy deal – The National
On tap Monday: Annual UN Water conference in Spain (Jan. 12, 2014)
Study: Freshwater shortage will double climate change’s impact on agriculture (Dec. 17, 2013)