Solving the Twin Crises of Energy and Water Scarcity by Kevin Moss and Debora Frodl, Harvard Business Review

January 25, 2016

Few people realize the important role water plays in our daily energy use, or the energy required to heat, treat, and supply water. Powering one 60-watt bulb for 12 hours a day over the course of a year can require 3,000 to 6,000 gallons of water — enough to fill a large tanker truck. Meanwhile, the electricity used for water treatment can be as much as one-third of a city’s energy bill.

Most companies’ value chains are heavily dependent on water and energy resources. Automobile manufacturers, for example, create products that rely on metals, chemicals, oil, and gas, which are among the most energy- and water-intensive industries. Others, including technology and telecommunications companies, are major customers of — and suppliers to — those industries. Almost everyone has some skin in this game.