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News How much water does a power plant use?

Despite that the power sector is the largest industrial water user, most countries don’t mandate that power plants disclose their water use. Power plants use water for cooling primarily, yet the World Electric Power Plants Database (one of the most commonly used repositories of global power plant information) has cooling data for only 59 percent of the world’s electricity generation capacity. It’s a dangerous information gap for everyone from investors to consumers.

In order to mitigate power sector risks, incentivize water-wise technologies and promote policies that boost resilience, it’s important to know where lost electricity due to water shortages is most acute. Identifying which plants use the most water and the level of local competition for water ("water stress") are critical first steps.

Yet disclosure of power plant water usage is not mandated in many countries — including some of the most water-stressed ones, such as India. This data gap has hampered accountability, leaving policymakers and civil society groups without accurate data on the amount of water withdrawn and consumed by power plants across the world — water that may compete with agriculture and municipal uses, or come from stressed sources. It also prevents investors from accessing the information needed to properly assess their exposure to environmental risks.

Contact information n/a
News type Inbrief
File link
Source of information World Resources Institute
Subject(s) ENERGY
Geographical coverage United States,
News date 31/01/2018
Working language(s) ENGLISH