There is no doubt about it that one of the most important resources in the world is renewable water. We use it for everything from cooking and bathing to agriculture and fishing. Right down to our very survival, that is how essential water is to our existence. Most people would be amazed at how scarce such a seemingly plentiful resource really is and how much this varies from country to country.
Take for example India, who only have 1.5 thousand cubic meters of renewable water in their country per capita. This is almost nothing and certainly not enough to provide for its 1.2 billion person population. They, like many other countries which are low on this resource have to purchase the natural resource through other countries who are more plentiful in it. Canada for example, has more renewable water than any other region in the world. At 81.7 thousand cubic meters of renewable water, this one country alone provides more renewable water as a resource than India, Germany, China, France, the United States and Argentina combined.
In fact, Canada has 20% of the total world’s water although only 7% of it is renewable. Due to chemical runoff and impurities in a great deal of water throughout the world, most of our resources of water are not renewable, meaning that it needs to be cycled several times before it can be considered a renewable resource. Although the vast majority of water throughout the world is not of the renewable variety, this does not mean it is a useless resource for everything. Hydro generators for example are a fantastic use of both renewable and non-renewable water which allows for the creation of electrical energy which can be sent through transmission lines and send power to homes and businesses. Because these generators are based on quantity of water and not on quality, hydro power is a fantastic resource and one that is available to almost all of the world whether they have renewable water or not.
Believe it or not, one of the largest hydroelectric power stations is not located in Canada, but in China. The Three Gorges Dam in Hubei, Chin has the single largest instant generating capacity, operating at 22,500 MW. This is second only to the Itaipu Dam located in Brazil and Paraguay which is capable of 14,00 MW. Just one of these power stations is capable of creating 98.2 TWh in on year. And in the case of Three Gorges, this is only in six months as half of the year there is very little water available to generate power.
One of the world’s most well-known hydroelectric power suppliers is actually also one of the lower energy producing ones. Niagara falls in the United States is ranked at 37th place for energy production, capable of only 2525 MW, only a fraction of Three Gorges and Itatpu. As we develop better ways to harness water as a resource, the opportunity to produce more power will before a much more reasonable and exciting opportunity for countries which are high in water supply.