Saturday, October 22, 2011

Moving Water

This year has seen a large number of books on water issues being published.  All point out the growing issues of global water resources in the context of population increases and climate change.  Too much water in some areas - - not enough in others.  Grossly undervalued in some cities - - not available in others.  Water resources is probably the most important, challenging, and interesting issue that engineers will face this century.

The latest of the books is The Ripple Effect (2011) by Alex Prud'homme.  He provides the tour deforce on global water topics.  One chapter covers the linkage between water and energy.  Prud'homme writes the following about the future of getting water from Point A to Point B:

"The water industry itself uses a lot of energy.  The collection, transportation, treatment, and distribution of water by the nation's sixty thousand water systems and fifteen thousand wastewater treatment account for about 4 percent of America's total electrical use, according to the Sandia National Laboratories.  In a 2007 study at state agencies, California found that "water-related energy use" - - i.e., moving the state's water supply across great distances, through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and over mountain ranges - - consumes about 19 percent of the state's electricity, 32 percent of its natural gas, 88 billion gallons of diesel fuel a year.  Energy was required for each step of the value chain, from storage to conveyance, treatment, distribution, and wastewater collection.  As more long-distance aqueducts are planned, regulators will have to factor in the power needed to build and operate them and the water costs associated with that power."

Texas recently published their draft water plan for public comment (2012 Water for Texas).  It is an interesting read - - look at in the context of the interconnection between water and energy requirements and constraints

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