The Unbreakable Connection of Water and Energy

It’s common now in policy circles to discuss the connection between water usage and energy. “Nexus” is the word of the times. But it’s true, and policy makers are realizing there is no one without the other—and we don’t have enough of either in Texas. The trouble starts with the dry western portions of Texas. Some of the most popular and populous cities rest right on the edge of dry country, including Austin and San Antonio. If the demographers are right, another twenty million “new” Texans will be here by 2060. They will want both water and power. Sharing what we have now will not do it. We have to find more. Virtually every significant source of energy requires water either to produce the fuel or cool the generation. New analysis from the University of Texas suggests that gas fired power plants use less water overall, including water for fracturing than coal fired plants. But hydraulic fracturing in Texas is prolific, its the home to the technology. And much of this production is in the driest portions of the state, the Eagle Ford southwest of San Antonio and the Permian Basin in far west Texas. Here is a look at some of the issues facing Texas in the years to come to meet the combined demands of power and water.

Water and Energy Presentation 2014