We are reminded by DAWN.COM that energy production competes for water with other uses and as our energy demands increase over the century there will be less water for these other uses.

Water is used not only to generate power through dams and steam but also as a coolant for nuclear, coal and gas-fired power plants, which are competing with agriculture, industry and urban consumption for water supplies.


Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam are already under “water stress” conditions, meaning they are experiencing periodic or limited water shortages.



The Asian Development Bank forecasts the region’s energy demand to double by 2030 to 74 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. Meanwhile, China and India are expected to have a combined shortfall of one trillion cubic metres of water within that same time period.

Experts say that we can no longer think about water and energy independently and the issue is even more important in Asia because of the very high urban population densities.

That water competes with electricity was made quite clear in Vietnam in 2008 when 2.2 billion cubic metres of water were diverted from three major hydroelectric plants for agriculture, leading to a shortfall of 430 million kilowatt-hours of electricity.

A recent water conference in Singapore stressed a need for research into using water more efficiently and by encouraging people to change their consumption patterns of water and energy.

Research is continually being carried out on water treatment technologies that require less energy as well as power-generation facilities that would need less water, experts said.

Advanced technologies to treat polluted water as well as recycle water from toilets, kitchen sinks and sewers for use in homes and industries will help address Asia’s future needs, they said.

Companies like Siemens Water Technologies are doing research aimed at integrating desalination — an energy-intensive process to purify seawater — with solar power.



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