Water is an enormous issue around the globe -- for drinking, farming and industry.
There is a looming water crisis facing everyone on Earth as
populations rise, pollution increases and climate and weather patterns
change. There is already a water crisis in many developing nations and
in some not-so-developing regions, like Australia and California. The
stats for "embedded" or "virtual" water are sobering -- for example, the
production of 1 kilogram of beef requires the use of 15,500 liters of
water (see WaterFootprint.org).
And water is inextricably linked to energy -- California uses an extraordinary amount of power to move water around the state. In fact, a fifth of the electricity used in California is intertwined with water. So is 30 percent of the natural gas, according to the California Energy Commission. Most of that power is actually used to heat water for hot showers and clean hospital equipment, but around five percent to six percent of all of California's energy gets consumed simply by moving water.