Published on The Water Blog

In Photos: Why Talk about Energy on World Water Day?

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ImageThe theme of this year’s #worldwaterday focuses on water and energy.  And for good reasons.

1. Globally, 1.3 billion people live without electricity, 768 million people lack access to potable water and 2.5 billion people are without sanitation (Source: IEA, 2012; WWAP, 2012).  Water and energy are critical for ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity.



2. To obtain water requires energy, and to produce energy requires water.  As the world’s population increases, demand for freshwater and energy will continue to grow.  This increase will present major challenges and strain resources in nearly all regions, especially in developing and emerging economies.(Source: UN Water)



3. Many energy companies and power utilities around the world have already experienced water-related business impacts in the past five years. A warming planet and increasing demand for resources are expected to make matters worse. (Source: CDP Global Water Report 2013)




However, innovative solutions are already being developed to help address the world’s energy and water challenges.

4. A power plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico has developed a sustainable approach to using water for energy.  Instead of using fresh water, the plant buys water from a wastewater treatment plant to be used in its cooling towers, reducing groundwater extractions by 48 million cubic meters (equivalent to nearly 20,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools).



5. UAE has sought diversification of its energy mix away from gas and toward clean energy. Its government plans to build the world’s largest solar-powered desalination plant that will process more than 22 million gallons of potable water per day and generate 20 MW of electricity. (source: World Bank: Thirsty Energy Initiative)



6. Some countries are reducing fresh water dependency by exploring brackish and saline water options that enhance efficiency of power plants, and replacing old, inefficient power plants.




Stay connected on #worldwaterday and beyond @worldbankwater. And let’s keep talking about innovative solutions that work across sectors.

Related links:

Infographic: Thirsty Energy -- Energy and Water's Interdependence
World Bank Water
World Bank Flickr Collection
UN World Water Day
World Water Development Report


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