Energy development scenarios and water demands and supplies: an overview

Open-File Report 77-697




On the basis of average mean annual flows, ample water exists in the upper Missouri River basin for energy development. The lack of storage and diversion works upstream as well as State compacts preclude the ready use of this surplus water. These surplus flows are impounded in mainstream reservoirs on the Missouri downstream from coal mining areas but could be transported back at some expense for use in Wyoming and North Dakota. There are limited water supplies available for the development of coal and oil shale industries in the upper Colorado River Basin. Fortunately oil shale mining, retorting and reclamation do not require as much water as coal conversion; in-situ oil shale retorting would seem to be particularly desirable in the light of reduced water consumption. Existing patterns of energy production, transport, and conversion suggest that more of the coal to be mined out West is apt to be transmitted to existing load centers rather than converted to electricity or gas in the water-short West. Scenarios of development of the West 's fossil fuels may be overestimating the need for water since they have assumed that major conversion industries would develop in the West. Transport of coal to existing users will require all means of coal movement including unit trains, barges, and coal slurry pipelines. The latter is considered more desirable than the development of conversion industries in the West when overall water consumption is considered. (Woodard-USGS)

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Energy development scenarios and water demands and supplies: an overview
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
15 leaves, 10 leaves of ill. :ill., maps ;27 cm.; (14 p. - PGS)