Water and Energy, as close as Biscuits and Gravy

Southerners know that nothing goes better with biscuits then gravy (getting hungry?) Well the same holds true for energy and water. Both resources are closely linked. It’s called the Water Energy Nexus.

Duke Energy uses 40% of the water that is removed from our river basin for steam and electric power production.

Charlotte Water uses a significant amount of energy to pump and treat Mecklenburg County’s drinking water.

The pie chart below shows the use in percentages and millions of gallons per day of the water removed from the entire Catawba-Wateree River Basin (where we and 18 other municipalities withdraw water from).


Energy use puts a strain on our water sources. Water use puts a strain on our energy sources. That is why Duke Energy, along with the 18 other utilities created the Catawba-Wateree Management Group. The group has put together a Water Supply Master Plan to ensure water is available for the region for many years to come. (more about this in another post).

You probably know how much water you use by reading your water bill each month. A typical family uses 7 Ccf’s (5,236 gallons) per 30-day billing cycle.

But that is just your direct water usage. You also use water indirectly, water is used to grow the food you eat or make the products you buy. And as we learned above, it is also used to make the electricity you use.

Let’s look at an example.

It takes 25 gallons of water to create one kWh of electricity.

A 100 Watt Lightbulb can run for 10 hours on one kWh so,

Thus, it takes 25 gallons of indirect water use to run a 100-watt light bulb for 10 hours.

Taking into consideration your indirect as well as your direct water use tells you your entire water footprint

Inversely your water use affects your energy use.

According to the EPA, 11 kWh are required to treat and deliver 1000 gallons of water to your home. So a typical customer who uses 7 Ccf’s, will use about 55 kWh per 30-day billing cycle in indirect energy use.

So the next time you turn your light off, you won’t just be saving energy but also water. And the next time you turn off your faucet you won’t just be saving water but also energy. It’s double the impact! Now go forth and conserve!

Can’t get enough, want to learn more about the Water Energy Nexus? Check out this presentation from the U.S. Department of Energy.

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