Water Demand for Energy to Double by 2035

The global increase of coal power, along with the coal industry's adoption of new technologies, will drive the largest share of water consumption for energy use through 2035, according to the IEA. Pictured: Germany's Jaenschwalde coal plant.


The amount of fresh water consumed for world energy production is on track to double within the next 25 years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects.

And even though fracking—high-pressure hydraulic fracturing of underground rock formations for natural gas and oil—might grab headlines, IEA sees its future impact as relatively small.

By far the largest strain on future water resources from the energy system, according to IEA's forecast, would be due to two lesser noted, but profound trends in the energy world: soaring coal-fired electricity, and the ramping up of biofuel production.