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Troubled waters ahead? Rising water risk on global energy industry

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21 May 2014

Troubled waters ahead? Rising water risk on global energy industry

Report summary

Almost all forms of energy production and power generation are dependent on water.  Although agriculture uses two-thirds of global freshwater supplies, energy is by far the largest industrial user (using more than 15% and growing).  With the UN predicting a 40% shortfall in global freshwater by 2030, the energy industry is under increasing scrutiny from government and the public on how it uses freshwater supplies. 

Table of contents

  • Executive summary
    • Almost all forms of energy are dependent on water, and water needs energy
    • Water risks vary by fuel type and by location
    • Water risks vary by fuel type, based on their different water requirements
    • Water risks vary by location, based on climate and socio-political conditions
      • Water is important: with half of global reserves in water-stressed areas and continuing regulatory uncertainties
      • The business challenges are: accessing sources of supply and addressing potential cost increases
      • Potential outcomes include: technology to improve environmental performance and more public engagement
    • Middle East oil faces water risks to its future potential upside
      • Water is important: with inadequate water infrastructure for asset development and desalination demand for oil
      • The business challenges are: minimising project delays and maximising oil production
      • Potential outcomes include: improved water management and more efficient desalination technologies
    • China faces water risks to its future coal mining and coal-fired power plants
      • Water is important: as energy demand doubles by 2030, adding more pressure on current water constraints
      • The business challenges are: increasing future cost pressures
      • Potential outcomes include: investment in water recycling and more water-efficient technologies
    • About WRI and the Aqueduct Project

Tables and charts

This report includes 6 images and tables including:

  • The Energy-Water Nexus, water requirements for energy and vice-versa
  • Global water consumption by fuel type - 2013
  • 2012 US Tight & Shale Gas Reserves versus Baseline Water Stress
  • Troubled waters ahead? Rising water risk on global energy industry: Image 4
  • 2012 Middle East Onshore Oil Reserves versus Overall Water Quantity Risk
  • 2012 China Coal Mining & Coal-Fired Power Generation versus Baseline Water Stress

What's included

This report contains:

  • Document

    Troubled waters ahead? Rising water risk on global energy industry

    PDF 2.72 MB

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