World’s water supply is dwindling but renewable energy may be able to helpAugust 2, 2014
The world may soon be facing an “insurmountable” water crisis in the near future.
A study from the CNA Corporation, which has drawn information from over one hundred years, suggests that the world’s water consumption is six times higher now than at any other point in history. A rising population and a growing need for electrical power are contributing to this problem. The study suggests that there will be a 40% gap between the supply and demand of water, which could be a challenge that has no solution.
The majority of the world’s electrical power is not derived from fossil-fuels. A common misconception is that fuels like coal and oil are burned and produce energy. These fuels do not, however, produce electrical power directly. Instead, much of the world’s energy is derived from steam. Fossil-fuels are used to heat water until it evaporates and this steam is pushed through generators that produce electrical power. With water resources dwindling, the world’s ability to produce electrical power could be in jeopardy.
Much of the water used to generate electrical power is returned to the environment, but a significant portion of it is lost or contaminated, making it useless. Inefficient and unsafe practices are having a cumulative impact on the world’s water supply. As water becomes more scarce, it may become a resource that countries are willing to fight over.
Typically, when the demand for a resource outpaces supply, the price of this resource can be raised.
This is not something that can easily be done with water, however, as it is considered to be a right rather than a privilege. In countries where water is becoming increasingly scarce, political tensions are reaching new highs. Countries are beginning to look for new sources of water that can power their industries and sustain their populations, but this resource is expected to become rarer in the near future.
Renewable energy may hold the solution to these problem, at least for now.
The study from the CNA Corporation found that Texas has managed to avoid some problems relating to a dwindling water supply. The state’s use of wind energy has helped it overcome a major drought that it has been combating since 2011. Eventually, however, water will run out and a more permanent solution to this problem will be needed.
Can desalination solve the water crisis?
Desalination has become a potential solution to the water crisis that is affecting many regions around the world. This process involves taking seawater and converting it into freshwater, which can be used for everyday purposes. Although this process is energy intensive and expensive, it could provide a steady source of potable water for affected areas. Los Angeles recently proposed a $3.4 billion plan to recycle and reuse its wastewater instead of pumping it into the ocean, which could help alleviate some of the strain on their other water sources without the need to rely on desalination as heavily. With new technologies and funding becoming available, desalination holds promise as a way to address this global issue.