Monday, August 6, 2012

No Water, No Energy. No Energy, No Water

By William Sarni, Director and Practice Leader Enterprise Water Strategy
Deloitte Consulting LLP

Energy has long been considered an engine of economic growth and the world needs more of it. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that world energy demand will increase by 53 percent between 2008 and 2035. EIA further predicts that a large portion of this demand will be met through low-carbon, renewable forms of energy, but a vast majority of it will still satisfy traditional fossil fuels.

The connection between energy and freshwater has long been established, but few companies have plans for management. With growing instances of drought and flooding and increasing incidences of water scarcity, more public and private sectors are seeing freshwater for what it is: a scarce and precious commodity that needs to be managed more effectively.

It takes vast amounts of water to extract, process and produce many forms of energy and it takes vast amounts of energy to extract, transport and treat water. The demand for one could soon cripple our need for the other. When added to competing pressures of food requirements, these concerns multiply. The availability of both energy and water impacts our ability to adequately supply food to an expanding global population.

Unless we can manage energy and water, we will not likely be in a position to feed an increasingly hungry world. The competition for energy, freshwater and food raise serious concerns about economic development, national security and public well-being.

The Path Forward: New Technologies Needed to Reduce Energy’s Water Footprint

The solutions provider market is forecast to grow as new technologies are needed to address the water gap. From an energy perspective, the solution involves reducing water consumption in traditional energy production as well as moving towards energy sources that are inherently less water-intensive. Where do we go from here? We have outlined below top actions for water stewardship, as well as energy and power:

Managing the Nexus

Water Stewardship - Top Three Actions
       Track water use against energy use -- how much water is associated with direct energy use (onsite), purchased energy and in your supply chain?
       Develop an understanding of your water footprint and water risk within the watershed.
       Engage stakeholders within the watershed to develop a collective water and energy conservation and management plan.

Energy and Power - Top Three Actions
       View energy development (oil and gas, biofuels, etc.) as power generation within the context of the local watershed, i.e., “watershed-scale thinking.”
       Consider renewables (low water footprint) for watersheds experiencing water stress or scarcity.
       Engage stakeholders within the watershed to develop a collective water and energy conservation and management plan.

Embracing new economic and business models means meeting the needs of the water-energy nexus by leveraging new technologies.

William Sarni is a Director of Deloitte Consulting LLP and is the firm’s Practice Leader for Enterprise Water Strategy. An internationally recognized thought leader on sustainability and corporate water strategies, Sarni is a frequent speaker for corporations, conferences and universities. He is the author of “Corporate Water Strategies” and the forthcoming book, “Water Tech, A Guide to Investment, Innovation and Business Opportunities.” He lives in Denver.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

1 comment:

  1. this is nice blog . this blogg usefull for energy bloggers. this blog show us the importance of energy. without energy and water how is the world. so ilike it . thank you so much. for posting it .