Topic: Current Water News

Keyword: Industrial


Lake Mead is shrinking

Excerpt: "This was all underwater," said Pat Mulroy, the general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. "I mean boats were everywhere. There was a who

Excerpt: "It's a pretty critical point," Mulroy said. "The rate at which our weather patterns are changing is so dramatic that our ability to adapt to it is really crippled."

Excerpt: Despite its wasteful reputation, Las Vegas actually reuses 93 percent of its water. It's paid homeowners $200 million to rip up their thirsty lawns. The city added 400,000 people last decade but cut its water use by 33 percent.

Drought Pose Problems for U.S. Electric Power

Excerpt: Record heat and drought conditions across the United States this summer have plagued power plants that require cool water to produce electricity.

From Connecticut to California, high water temperatures and diminished access to water caused by drought have forced a number of power plants to ramp down production or acquire waivers to operate with cooling water above regulated temperatures. At least one plant has suspended operations.

Excerpt: But heat and drought work together to overtax the electrical grid, said Michael Webber, associate director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas at Austin. Water is far more important for energy production than most people understand, Webber said, adding that families use more water to power their homes than they use from their tap.

"In summer you often get a double whammy," Webber said. "People want their air-conditioning and drought gets worse. You have more demand for electricity and less water available to produce it. That is what we are seeing in the Midwest right now, power plants on the edge."

Excerpt: Although the summer months are drawing to a close, and unseasonably warm temperatures have fallen in many parts of the country—including the Midwest—the electric power industry continues to face drought conditions in many areas. Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska, said drought conditions continue to expand and intensify in parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Illinois. "The drought is heading into the fall and we are not seeing any widespread improvement at all," Fuchs said.

Will Drought Cause the Next Blackout?

Excerpt: WE’RE now in the midst of the nation’s most widespread drought in 60 years, stretching across 29 states and threatening farmers, their crops and livestock. But there is another risk as water becomes more scarce. Power plants may be forced to shut down, and oil and gas production may be threatened.

Excerpt: Our energy system depends on water. About half of the nation’s water withdrawals every day are just for cooling power plants. In addition, the oil and gas industries use tens of millions of gallons a day, injecting water into aging oil fields to improve production, and to free natural gas in shale formations through hydraulic fracturing. Those numbers are not large from a national perspective, but they can be significant locally.

Excerpt: Because rivers and aquifers can span many states (or countries), because there is no alternative to water, and because water represents a critical vulnerability for our energy system, governments at all levels have a stake in working with industry to find solutions. The downsides of doing nothing — more blackouts — are too serious to ignore.

Energy & Water are Closely Related

Excerpt: While we are always reminded in the media about the questions of energy security, water resources are equally important and increasingly linked to energy in what became known as the energy water nexus, or how much of each is needed to make the other available.

Excerpt: While total water resources are renewable, the increasing use of water for human consumption, irrigation and industry is putting pressure on the readily available resources and forcing governments to seek others.

Excerpt: The linkage between energy and water is now well established and water security should receive the same attention if not more than energy security. Energy and water policies and plans should be viewed in an integrated manner to improve the efficiency of use of both. Energy conservation has been a great success in the last 40 years and water conservation is yet to be given equal regard especially with the expected increase of world population and its consequent economic growth.