Literature Review and Scoping of a Study to Identify Efficiencies in the Energy and Water Nexus in Arizona
* How much water is being consumed in generating electrical power in Arizona?
* Could other methods of electricity generation be developed to reduce the consumption of water to conserve it for more traditional uses?
* Are there sufficient supplies of water to meet the growing power needs in Arizona?
Need and Benefit
Nuclear, coal, gas, and most all other forms of traditional power generation consume large quantities of surface, ground, and impaired waters. Growing demand for power using traditional methods will equate to growing water consumption.
Currently Arizona uses more than 150,000 acre feet of water for power generation in the state. About 30 percent of this electricity is exported outside of the state. This means that around 45,000 acre feet of water is exported on the back of the power generated in Arizona.
Conserving about 10 to 20 percent of the water used in generating power would conserve to 15,000 to 30,000 acre feet of water, which could be use for municipal, industrial, agricultural, or other higher uses.
Since the easily developed sources of water have already been developed, Reclamation and partners need to evaluate other sources of water supply. Non-water consuming power generation could be another water supply for other uses. Universities and private organizations are currently examining these non-water consuming techniques.
Since Reclamation is a water development, water management organization it only makes sense to work with these nongovernmental organizations (NGO) and other agencies in examining potential water supplies from reduced water use in thermo electric generation.