It Takes Lots of Water to Make Power

By Deane Barker on July 23, 2011

The revenge of water: Interesting statistics of the day.

THE LARGEST SINGLE consumer of water in the United States, in fact, is virtually invisible. Every day, the nation’s power plants use 201 billion gallons of water generating electricity. That isn’t water used by hydroelectric plants—it’s the water used by coal, gas, and nuclear power plants for cooling and to make steam. U.S. electric utilities require seven times more water than all U.S. homes. They use 1.5 times the amount of water used by all the farms in the country. In fact, 49 percent of all water use in the United States is for power plants.