The World Bank is launching a new initiative at the World Future Energy Summit and International Water Summit in Abu Dhabi that will help developing countries better plan and manage scaling-up energy capacity to meet rising demand, in tandem with water resource management.
Producing energy requires a lot of water. Yet, the availability of and access to water is negatively impacting energy production around the world. Last year alone, water shortages shut down thermal power plants in India, decreased energy production in power plants in the United States and threatened hydropower generation in many countries, including Sri Lanka, China and Brazil.
The problem is expected only to get worse. By 2035, the world’s energy consumption will increase by 35 percent, which in turn will increase water consumption by 85 percent, according to the International Energy Agency.
“The world’s energy and water are inextricably linked. With demand rising for both resources and increasing challenges from climate change, water scarcity can threaten the long-term viability of energy projects and hinder development,” said Rachel Kyte, World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change.
Part of the challenge for the energy sector is the competing demand for water. This demand will grow as the world’s population reaches 9 billion, requiring a 50 percent increase in agricultural production and a 15 percent increase in already-strained water withdrawals. With two-thirds of the world’s population – or 5 billion people – urbanized by 2030, cities in developing countries will be under tremendous pressure to meet the demand for food, energy, and water services. Yet today, some 780 million people lack access to improved water and 2.5 billion, more than one-third of the world’s people, do not have basic sanitation.