By 2050, the world’s economy will be four times its current size. While it will result in a less than proportional increase in water demand the global economy will still require 55% more water as compared to today. To power a larger global economy thermal power plants will require 140% more water: currently 90% of power generation worldwide is water-intensive while energy production accounts for around 15% of all water withdrawals and 75% of all industry water withdrawals. However, global demand for water will outstrip supply by 40% in 2030 if the world continues on a business-as-usual trajectory of wastage and inefficiency, reducing the availability of water for energy production. Around the world there are examples of cities and countries implementing strategies that reduce water consumption and increase water efficiency that in turn reduces demand for energy.
Singapore’s water efficiency management plan
In Singapore, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) has made it mandatory for all large non-domestic water users consuming 5,000 cubic metres of water per month, or more, to submit Water Efficiency Management Plans to PUB by June on an annual basis. These large users are required to identify potential water-savings, develop implementation timelines and install private meters (with funding-support from PUB) to measure and monitor water consumption to account for the breakdown of water use at all major water usage areas in their premises.
Germany’s Blue Angel labeling programme
In Germany, the Blue Angel label is the German Government’s label for environmentally friendly products, as well as services. Household appliances, including washing machines and dishwashers, deemed environmentally-friendly (water/energy efficient) receive a Blue Angel label. The benefits of the label is that it rewards high-quality and eco-friendly products, helps consumers save money from water and energy-savings and helps consumers make informed choices.
With a growing economy requiring more water, countries and cities need to implement water-efficiency steps, including water audits and product labeling according to water and energy efficiency.