NewEnergyNews: THE WATER-ENERGY NEXUS CRISIS

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    Thursday, November 08, 2012

    THE WATER-ENERGY NEXUS CRISIS

    Report: Energy production threatens to strain nation’s water supply

    Zach Coleman, October 17, 2012 (The Hill)

    “The federal government must better monitor the nation's water supply as expanded domestic energy production threatens to further strain water resources, warns a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report…With an earlier Congressional Research Service study projecting the energy sector to account for 85 percent of the growth in domestic water consumption between 2005 and 2030, the GAO report says the federal government must improve oversight…

    “The report calls for the Energy Department to institute an oversight program to evaluate water availability and use by energy producers. It notes the Energy Policy Act of 2005 required the department to implement a similar program, but has so far failed to do so…The report adds that climate change, population growth, increased competition for energy resources and demographic changes would ‘exacerbate the challenges associated with water and energy supply and demand…’”

    “…Higher energy consumption in general has required using more water for cooling power plants. A significant amount of the growth in water consumption also has come from the emergence of new energy production methods…[H]ydraulic fracturing [fracking] used to tap hard-to-reach oil-and-gas deposits…injects a high-pressure mixture of water, chemicals and sand into tight rock formations to unlock fossil fuel reserves…Biofuels production…[siphons] considerable amounts of local water for growing feedstocks…

    “…[Both,] — and, in particular, the fracking boom — combined with the past summer’s drought have led to water shortages across the country…That forced water auction prices higher, with energy companies outbidding farmers…[but] many energy firms could not find enough water to continue fracking…Federal, state and local agencies need to better coordinate water and energy decisions to avoid those situations, the report says…”

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