This week is World Water week (August 26-31 in Stockholm). The organisers Stockholm International Water Institute have issued a report, ‘Feeding a thirsty world: Challenges and Opportunities for a
Water and Food Secure Future’. The report points out that we do not have sufficient water to produce the food needed to feed the estimated 9 billion global population by 2050 if current trends towards a western style diet high in animal protein continue. However, our water resources would be just sufficient to feed that population if animal protein was limited to 5% of our diet worldwide. In other words, the whole population changed to a mainly vegetarian diet. For details of the report see:
Water for growing food will increasingly compete with water for other needs. One industry with excessive water need is the nuclear power industry. A report for the Australian Parliament ascertained that nuclear power is the most water hungry form of power generation. Depending on whether the nuclear power plant uses ‘once through’ or ‘closed systems’ to cool their reactors, they consume between 33 – 50% more water than fossil fuel power plants. Despite having 23% of the world’s uranium deposits, Australia still has no nuclear power industry. For more detail see: http://www.efmr.org/files/07rn12.pdf
In a world of increasing water scarcity we can hardly afford to build power plants which are going to consume a scarce resource which is needed for the basic task of feeding the world. Why go nuclear when you can have renewable energy?