Energy Excursions

How Much Water Powers Texas?

Understanding the relationship between water, energy, and electricity generation is vital for making important decisions. The energy sources we use to power our homes are constantly evolving, especially today in the midst of an energy transition. Decision makers must take water resource supply and demand into consideration to ensure we will not face water scarcity in the future. 

Design Challenge

This design challenge will allow you to take the opportunity to work through these challenges and important decisions on your own! In Part 1 of the Design Challenge, you will be asked to work through an activity sheet that calculates how much water Texas uses annually1based on 2020 ERCOT numbers for electricity generation. Next, you will envision a fuel mix based on proposed market demand drivers that favor natural gas, wind, and nuclear. You will go through the same calculations to determine projected water use based on this anticipated scenario.

To begin, click on the button below and walk through the activity sheet to complete Part 1 of the Design Challenge. After you finish working with the activity sheet, complete the review questions below to assess your learning.

Parts 1A and 1B Review Questions 


Looking at the table, what energy source contributes to the highest percentage of electricity generation?

Natural Gas

Correct

Wind

Incorrect

Solar (PV)

Incorrect

What energy source contributes to the lowest percentage of electricity generation?

Natural Gas

Incorrect

Wind

Incorrect

Solar (PV)

Correct

What energy source is the most water intensive?

Nuclear

Incorrect

Coal

Correct

Wind

Incorrect

What energy source is the least water intensive?

Nuclear

Incorrect

Solar (PV)

Incorrect

Wind

Correct

Parts 1C and 1D Review Questions 


True or False: This mix of energy sources for generation is less water intensive?

True

Correct

This mix of sources for electricity generation is far less water intensive given coal is the most water intensive source.

False

Incorrect

What is the difference in total water consumed between the current energy mix (Part B) and the proposed one that you calculated (Part D)?

16.5 billion gallons

Correct

20.8 billion gallons

Incorrect

39.1 billion gallons

Incorrect

107.7 billion gallons

Incorrect

What is the difference in total water consumed between the current energy mix (Part B) and the proposed one that you calculated (Part D)?

The mix would be even less water intensive than before.

Correct

The mix would be even less water intensive than before.

Incorrect

The amount of water used to power our grid would not change with a decrease in coal and increase in wind for electricity generation.

Incorrect

TEKS Standards
College Board Units and Topics