The federal government must better monitor the nation’s water supply as expanded domestic energy production threatens to further strain water resources, warns a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released Tuesday.
With an earlier Congressional Research Service study projecting the energy sector to account for 85 percent of the growth in domestic water consumption between 2005 and 2030, the GAO report says the federal government must improve oversight on the nexus between water and energy.
The report calls for the Energy Department to institute an oversight program to evaluate water availability and use by energy producers. It notes the Energy Policy Act of 2005 required the department to implement a similar program, but has so far failed to do so.
The report adds that climate change, population growth, increased competition for energy resources and demographic changes would “exacerbate the challenges associated with water and energy supply and demand, and shifts in any of these areas are expected to increase demand for both of these resources.”