After agriculture, the energy sector is the largest consumer of water in the US. Freshwater resources are already dwindling due to climate change and current population levels, and that burden is likely to intensify. The Energy Information Administration estimates a 40% increase in energy demand by 2050, when the U.S. population is expected to hit 439 million.
But alternative energies won’t necessarily ease this pressure. Recent research indicates that most alternative energies—whether renewables like solar thermal and biofuels, or unconventional sources like oil tar sands—use more water than conventional fossil fuels.