Water Consumption by Power Plants is Only 3% of Total Water Usage

Some water use presenters point out that about 38% of our fresh water is used to cool power plants. That is true, but in most cases the water is returned to the river or lake that it came from, just as pure, and only a little is evaporated in the cooling process. According to the following graph of national water use versus water consumption, only 3% of water is used up by power generation, while 38% plays a reusable role in power generation. The use in power generation is of concern in drought areas in the other direction – if we have too little cooling water, then power generation plants may have to be shut down.

Water use by power plants









About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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