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Energy’s Water Footprint

Water SupplyAccording to Conservation Magazine’s reporting of an Environmental Science & Technology publication, “It can take 800 gallons of irrigation water to produce the amount of corn necessary to make one gallon of ethanol.”

Here is a breakdown of the amount of water needed to produce the fuels needed to quench our energy needs (Liters per Megawatt hour):

Oil refining: 80-150

Oil Shale: 170-681

Natural Gas Combined Cycle power plants: 230-30,300

Coal: ~900

Nuclear, closed loop cooling: ~950

Geothermal, closed loop cooling: 1,900-4,200

Enhanced Oil Recovery: ~7,600

Natural Gas Combined Cycle power plants, open loop cooling: 28,400-75,700

Nuclear, open loop cooling: 94,600-227,100

Corn ethanol irrigation: 2,270,000-8,670,000

Soybean biodiesel irrigation: 13,900,000-27,900,000



Data: Conservation Magazine July/Sept 2009

Scott Artis
Scott serves as Director of Development & Communications for Audubon Canyon Ranch (focusing on preservation, education and conservation science) and has almost fifteen years of experience spanning for-profit and nonprofit sectors in biotech, wildlife conservation and management, communications, and philanthropy. In addition to a strong track record in organizational growth and leadership, he is the founder of Urban Bird Foundation and Burrowing Owl Conservation Network, and presided over ECHO Fund, a coastal protection and restoration organization, as President for four years. Scott holds an M.A. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Development and Policy, degrees in Micro & Molecular Biology and Environmental Sciences, and has complemented his studies with a Master's certificate in Environmental Resource Management.


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