Huge demands for water present complicated challenges, but leaders will not resolve these kinds of interconnected risks without a systems approach
Producing electricity from coal, gas and oil is a surprisingly thirsty business. The United States needs around 731,920 million litres a day (161,000m gallons) to produce and burn the nearly 900m tonnes of coal it uses each year to generate just a third of the nation’s electricity.
In India, plans to produce 500 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity by 2040, will require at least 58bn cubic metres per year (pdf). And in China, about 15% of national water withdrawals are used for coal mining, processing, ash control, and for cooling of its coal-fired power plants.