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IEA Calls for Reduction in Water Use for Energy Generation

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is advocating for a reduction in the amount of water used in generating energy globally, proposing a shift to renewable energies like wind and solar panels to achieve this goal.

The IEA highlighted the substantial amount of water consumed by the energy sector, particularly in the production of fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal. In a documentary released to mark the 2024 World Water Day, the agency underscored the urgent need to address the world’s water crisis by adopting more water-efficient energy practices.

According to the IEA, the global energy system withdrew approximately 370 billion cubic meters of water in 2021, equivalent to about 150 million Olympic swimming pools. This immense water usage is unsustainable, especially in regions already facing water scarcity.

As global energy demand continues to rise, the IEA warns that the demand for fresh water will also increase. However, the agency believes that transitioning to renewable energy sources like wind and solar panels can significantly reduce the water footprint of the energy sector.


The IEA reiterated that in times of water scarcity, priority must be given to essential needs such as drinking water, potentially leading to cuts in water use for energy production. It urged the energy sector to prepare for this scenario by becoming more water-efficient and reducing its reliance on water-intensive technologies.


While the IEA has been advocating for a shift away from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources, some entities, including the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and certain African countries, argue that fossil fuels will remain essential to meeting global energy needs.

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