In this paper, we investigate and compare the amounts and impacts of water consumption due to manufacturing processes versus the water consumption due to the electricity used in those manufacturing processes. As is shown using automotive manufacturing as a case study, the “indirect” water consumption in manufacturing due to electricity generation is significant. Reduction of electricity consumption, in particular from thermo-electric power plants, can lead to substantial water consumption reductions, and thus win-win situations. We also show the amounts of variability that occur dependent on how water consumption of hydro-electric power generation is calculated. In terms of an automotive life-cycle, the amount of water consumed in the production of gasoline dominates the life-cycle, but is itself subject to significant variations dependent on the source of the petroleum used.

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