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Freshwater Supplies Under Threat

waterBiofuel and shale gas production use increasing amounts of fresh water, which is stressing supplies worldwide, according to a new report from the United Nations.

The World Water Development Report said the demand is exacerbated by the effects of climate change. It urged the energy industry to find ways to limit water use for cooling power plants, extract natural gas via hydraulic fracturing and irrigation needed for biofuels crops.

“Demand for energy and freshwater will increase significantly in the coming decades,” the report says. “This increase will present big challenges and strain resources in nearly all regions.”

By 2030, the world will need 40 percent more water and 50 percent more energy than now, the report said. Around the world, about 770 million of the world’s 7 billion people now lack access to safe drinking water, it said. And the energy sector accounts for about 15 percent of water withdrawals from sources such as rivers, lakes and aquifers.

Photo: Macky Franklin Flickr photostream

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