Climate change will have a drastic effect on our water and electricity consumption over the next decade. A Purdue University study, published in the journal Climate Change, estimated that in the next decade global warming will push demand for water and electricity higher than previously thought. It predicted that by 2030 cities like Chicago may face 12 percent more electricity per person each summer. If this is not met, we may face large-scale blackouts.
The team used data on how consumers use electricity and water simultaneously, reaching figures higher than previously estimated. The research team from Purdue University, in collaboration with a German scientist, developed a model that studied the mixed-use of water and electricity in six cities in the US Midwest, Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Columbus, Ohio, Madison, Minneapolis, and Wisconsin. They picked the Midwest region because it experiences distinct seasons.
They took into account climate features that influence the mixed-use of water and electricity, such as wind speed and humidity. There are functions like heating water or using dishwasher that requires mixed-use. At a city-level, we need mixed-use for electricity and water generation as well as their distribution. The model picked years of data from weather patterns and utility services.
The team predicted that the average hike in demand for water would be 2 to 5 percent and 10 to 20 percent for electricity. On the whole, the Midwest will use 7 percent more water and 19 percent more electricity.