FES JOURNAL: The Future of Water Supply and Implications of Energy Demands

Managing Water and Energy Resources to Accommodate Growth

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Energy and water are inextricably linked. In the most basic of terms, water is essential for fossil fuel and nuclear power production facilities, while energy is necessary to transport and treat water for consumption by the nearly 21 million people in Florida. As long as there is an abundance of water to meet the requirements for energy production, drinking water, agricultural production and the environment, no conflicts exist between these uses.

Water withdrawals from both freshwater sources and saline sources in Florida were estimated to be 15 billion gallons a day (bgd) in 2010. Power generation in the state requires 8.6 bgd of water, typically from saline and surface water. The balance of 6.4 bgd represents water withdrawals from freshwater sources, both groundwater and surface water. Current drinking water needs of Floridians are estimated at 2.24 bgd. Groundwater utilization makes up 80% of this portion of the water demand, with surface water contributing 19% and desalinated water making up the balance.1

Florida’s population is expected to increase by over 6 million by 2030, as reported by the Florida Chamber of Commerce. With the increase in population, drinking water demands may grow to 8.5 bgd by 2025.2   This population growth will also place demands on power generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure.

In this article published in the January 2018 issue of JOURNAL Florida Engineering Society, McKim & Creed Senior Vice President Street Lee explores the implications of energy demands on future water supply and ways to manage energy and water resources to accommodate growth.

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University of Florida, IFAS Extension, “Water Withdrawals and Their Use in Florida in 2010,” Tatiana Borosova and Jenna Rogers.

University of Florida, IFAS Extension, “History and Current Status of Reclaimed Water Use in Florida,” Gurpal S. Toor and Donald P. Rainey.