Sie sind auf Seite 1von 110

© UN Photo/Noel Gomez

P:M > K  ? H K  E B ? >

+ ) ) .  + )*.
Water Monographies

water & energy

Editorial Ramiro Aurín Lopera 2
Water and energy nexus: challenges, Josefina Maestu Unturbe
solutions and United Nations initiatives Carlos Mario Gómez 4

Diego Rodríquez
Will water constrain our energy future? Antonia Sohns 14

Knowledge challenges for policy

integration of water and energy domains Zafar Adeel 24

Challenges and developments

in water and energy efficiency:
role of the United Nations Industrial Christian Susan
Development Organization (UNIDO) John G. Payne 32

Promoting cross-border policy Annukka Lipponen

responses on the water and energy Nexus Mark Howells 44

Water and Energy, a critical alliance

for sustainable development Ángel Simón Grimaldos 56

Water and energy in Mexico: Víctor Bourguett Ortíz

synergy for sustainability Ana Alicia Palacios Fonseca 64

Development and application

of analytical tools in support of
Water-Energy-Food Nexus Planning
in Latin America and the Caribbean Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm 76

The role of water

in the Spanish energy system conversion –
Medium-term prospects (2030) César Lanza 86



water & energy WM 2 - 2014

• Board of Directors-Josefina Maestu Unturbe • Tomás A. Sancho Marco • Editorial Board-Josefina Maestu Unturbe • Tomás A. Sancho Marco • Ramiro Aurín Lopera •
Director-Ramiro Aurín Lopera • Editorial Production Manager-Marta López Raurell • Contributors-Josefina Maestu Unturbe • Carlos Mario Gómez • Diego Rodríguez •
Antonia Sohns • Zafar Adeel • Christian Susan • John G. Payne • Annukka Lipponen • Marcos Howells • Ángel Simón Grimaldos • Víctor Bourguett Ortíz • Anna A. Palacios
Fonseca • Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm • César Lanza • Copyediting and Translation-José Francisco Sáez Rubio • Raquel Cubero Calero • Illustrations and Cover-Hiroshi
Kitamura • Layout and Graphic Production-Intercom Strategys S.L. • Printing and Binding-Gràficas Ortells S.L. • / info@ • Publisher-Oficina de Naciones Unidas de apoyo al Decenio «El agua, fuente de vida» 2005-2015/Programa de ONU-Agua para la Promoción y la
Comunicación en el marco del Decenio • WCCE - World Council of Civil Engineers • Fundación Aquae

This publication does not necessarily share the wiews of its contributors.
The views expressed in this publication are those of the editorial team and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations Secretariat or the United Nations Office to Support the
International Decade for Action (UNO-IDfA) ‘Water for Life’ 2005-2015.
The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations
or the UNO-IDfA ‘Water for Life’ 2005-2015 concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
Reproduction, in any media, of all or part of any text or graphics from this isue is prohibited, except with prior, express, written permission from the editors and the corresponding authors.
A year ago, in the first issue of these Water Monographies, we stated that the water problem was
not one of scarcity but rather one of its access. And such access depends on the availability, we said,
of appropriate technologies, maybe yet to come, result of human cooperation sublimated into intel-
ligence. Technologies which need energy like ourselves. We are water, but we live on energy. Such
rebel water needs an intelligent energy management.

In quantum mechanics, the energy of an open system is not fixed, but is a random variable with a
probability of having a determined value. It is possible to obtain the energy needed to make for our
water needs. There is no precedence, no prevalence. Not for us humans, pure chance, nothing more
than quantum.

The term energy (from Greek ἐνέργεια [enérgeia] “activity”, “operation”; of ἐνεργóς [energós]
“active force” or “force in motion”) relates to the ability to act, transform or launch set in motion. An
energy excess can also destroy. Water humanizes energy; cools it down, tempers it, leashes it, renders it.
Also stores energy and delivers it when in motion. We are energy transformed and water in the making.
Energy provides the possibility, and water makes life come true. Male and female are of the same coin.
Not heads and tails, but two parts that together bring life. Ours, too. Nature shows the way to the need
for indispensable cooperation.

Available water for energy, energy available for water, and intelligence’s cooperating role plan-
ning overall.

So here we are again, a year later, in Water Monographies recalling that such link is not volun-
tarily adopted, but one that precedes us and is eternal. Although sometimes, we may enjoy swim-
ming upstream.

Ramiro Aurín
Human is the most important power to move the world. (© Illustration: Hiroshi Kitamura)
Water and energy nexus:
challenges, solutions
and United Nations initiatives
Josefina Maestu and Carlos Mario Gómez

UN-Water Conference


n January 2014, several agencies, pro- focus is on furthering cooperation at all levels and engag-
grammes and organizations of the UN system ing women, so as to achieve the water-related Millennium
met with practitioners in the UN-Water Declaration goals, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementa-
Annual Zaragoza Conference to discuss tion of the World Summit for Sustainable Development
the Water and Energy Nexus in preparation for the World and the Agenda 21. This article presents some of the main
Water Day. The Conference motivation comes from the discussions and proposals made in the conference.
key importance of securing equitable access, efficiency and
sustainability of water and energy as a pre-condition for
sustainable development. Emerging from the 2012 Rio+20
Conference, the Water and Energy Nexus rapidly got to
the top of the Post-2015 international sustainable devel-
opment agenda once its importance as both driver and
The Nexus Challenges
constraint of human development was recognized. The
agenda is planned to be agreed in the General Assembly of Participants in the Zaragoza Conference discussed
the United Nations in 2015 and its implementation would the different interlinked water and energy challenges.
require developing appropriate responses, managing the Among them, The World Bank, the OECD and the
multiple trade-offs, identify the synergies and maximize World Water Assessment Programme of UNESCO,
the co-benefits of managing together water and energy. explained how securing access to both water and energy
The UN-Water Zaragoza conference organized in is a social challenge. This is particularly true for the
the context of the UN International Decade for Action poorest level of society, where fulfilling the Millennium
“Water for Life” 2005-2015, was a stepping stone in this Development goals is still pending and the lack of ad-
Agenda. The Conference served to the aims of the decade equate access to water, sanitation and energy sources to
of fostering efforts to fulfil the international commitments cover basic needs is still the main barrier to overcoming
made on water and water-related issues by 2015. The poverty and exclusion.

4 2 - 2014
In fact, the organizations in the better living standards. The higher Fig. 1. UN-Water Annual
UN system argued that economic increases in water demands are ex- Zaragoza Conference.
growth and demography has been pected to come from manufacturing Preparation for the
and will remain as the main drivers (+400%) and from thermal power World Water Day 2014.
of water and energy demands in the plants (+140%).
near future and will push further These projections are in line with
the trends towards water and energy those developed for energy demand
scarcity. The transition towards a and consumption that by 2035 are coal/thermal and hydropower) is
developed society requires secure and expected to be 35% higher than in limited by the availability of water. In
adequate access to water and energy 2010 and will result in a more than water stressed regions, in both poor
for the people, for practically all the proportional 85% increase in water and transition economies, this is now
goods and services in which water consumption (EA, 2012). a well-known reality. But the lack of
and energy intervene as essential With the total annual sustainable future resources did not prevent the
production inputs and for the envi- freshwater supply remaining static building up of electricity generation
ronment on which the continuous at 4,200 billion cubic meters, the facilities that can only currently work
provision of freshwater and many annual deficit for 2030 is forecasted below their designed capacity.
energy sources relies on. to be 2,765 billion m3, or 40% of A more water-constrained future
Under the OECD (2012) base- unconstrained demand, assuming will impact reliability and costs in the
line scenario, by 2050 the world that present trends continue. India energy sector. In fact, water scarcity
economy will grow to four times and the People’s Republic of China is mostly the unanticipated conse-
its current size. This is expected to (PRC) are forecasted to have a com- quence of many endeavours in areas
result in a less than proportional bined shortfall of 1,000 billion m3 such as agricultural, manufacturing,
increase in water demand but will reflecting shortfalls of 50% and 25%, electricity or land development that
still require 55% more water. House- respectively (2030 WRG). are appraised and accepted by using
holds’ water demand is expected to In many areas of the world, the the same critical assumption: that the
grow by 130% due to the combined development of the most common water available in the future will basi-
effect of higher population with forms of energy (electricity from cally be the same as today.

Fig. 2. Nigerian Child facing drought
The Energy Industry already faces water related risks
and rising of food prices.
Bargadja, Niger.
© UN Photo/PMA/Phil Behan. • In the U.S., several power plants • In 2012 a delayed monsoon in In-
have had to shut down or reduce dia raised electricity demand (for
power generation due to low water pumping groundwater for irriga-
flows or high water temperatures. tion) and reduced hydro genera-
• In 2003 in France an extended heat tion, contributing to blackouts
wave forced EdF to curtail nuclear lasting two days and affecting over
power output equivalent to the loss 600 million people.
of 4-5 reactors, costing an estimated • The 2011 drought in China lim-
€300 million to import electricity. ited hydro generation along the

6 2 - 2014
Solutions for a sustainable future
A sustainable future is possible within needs both. One of the main risks in
the range of the existing resources. the search for a sustainable develop-
The inventory and the evaluation of ment path comes from ignoring
best water and energy technologies the basic fact that there is no other
available, show that there is room option to handling the water and en-
for improvement in human develop- ergy challenges in an integrated man-
ment. Many alternatives do exist ner. These risks are already present in
that are compatible with growth and some of the most relevant alternatives
development and also make possible to face water and energy challenges.
reversing natural degradation trends Water stress might put addi-
and the building up of a more adapt- tional pressure over to energy. Going
able and more resilient society. How- further and deeper to obtain water as
ever, the relative optimism of this water becomes scarce requires more
conclusion cannot shade the magni- energy for transport and pumping.
tude of the challenge of transforming The non-conventional sources that
the promise into a reality. may compensate for the lack of fresh-
One essential condition to take water may require energy intensive
advantage of these opportunities con- transformation processes such as de-
sists of recognizing how the world’s salination of sea and brackish water
water and energy systems are inextri- or regeneration of wastewater.
cably linked. Significant amounts of Growing demand for limited wa-
water are needed in almost all energy ter supplies puts increasing pressure
processes (from generating hydro- on water intensive energy produc-
power, cooling and other purposes in ers to seek alternative approaches,
thermal power plants, to extracting especially in areas where energy is
and processing fuels). Conventional competing with other major water
energy generation requires the mobi- users (agriculture, manufactur-
lization and utilization of consider- ing, drinking water and sanitation
able water resources, particularly for services for cities) and where water
cooling for nuclear and thermal ener- uses may be restricted to maintain
gy, and reservoir storage and driving healthy ecosystems.
turbines for hydroelectricity. Power Access to energy might worsen
generation is particularly sensitive to the water crisis. Uncertainties related
water availability and several power to the growth and evolution of global
plants have been forced to shut down energy production (e.g., via growth
due to lack of cooling water or high in unconventional sources of gas and
water temperatures. oil, or bio fuels), and the price of
Conversely, the water sector energy can create significant risks to
needs energy – mainly in the form water resources and other users. The
of electricity – to extract, treat and increasing momentum in the produc-
transport water. The degradation tion of bio fuels has created a grow-
of water sources implies increas- ing demand on water resources. Even
Yangtze River, contributing to ing amounts of energy to pump the a modest 5% share of bio fuels in
higher coal demand (and prices) same amount of water from deeper road transport demand (as predicted
and forcing some provinces to aquifers or farther sources. Any alter- by the International Energy Agency
implement strict energy efficiency native to reallocate water to its more for 2030) could increase the water
measures and electricity rationing. productive uses might require energy demand for irrigation by as much as
• Exposure to recurring and prolonged for transport and to adapt water 20% (WWDR, 2012).
droughts are threatening hydropow- quality to its new uses and places. The multiple interdependencies
er capacity in many countries, such Water needs energy, energy between water and energy mean that
as Sri Lanka, China and Brazil. needs water and human development any response needs to tackle the two

Fig. 3. A view of solar panels ficiency in the way that water is used the water and energy sector. Not only
on the UN Interim Force Base translates into lower pressures over are the challenges involved in the
in Lebanon (UNIFIL). freshwater sources but also into a Water and Energy Nexus beyond
Naqoura, Lebanon. reduced demand of energy for water the scope of any individual public
© UN Photo/Pasqual Gorriz. treatment, pumping and transport authority, business or stakeholder but
and then into even less water re- actions can be coordinated in such a
quired to produce energy. Moving way that the whole is greater than the
towards less water intensive energy sum of its parts.
sources and less energy intensive wa- Partnerships might involve differ-
sectors in an integrated way. Igno- ter sources, saving water and energy ent actors from the energy and water
rance of these basic facts may lead to in any production and consumption community including businesses,
responses that try to adopt alterna- process and reallocating water and different levels of government, civil
tives that fix one problem at the energy to their more valuable uses are society, academia and all those with
expense of worsening the other and all alternatives that take advantage of a stake in finding the way towards a
that might fail in the end. these synergies in opening the option sustainable social response to the
Coordinated responses can take of producing more with less. water and energy challenges. While
advantage of the synergies between Nexus solutions can and should recognizing the diversity of percep-
water and energy. Instead of ignoring be implemented by building partner- tions, interests and roles all partner-
the interdependencies, coordinated ships to allow a joint action and sup- ships are in agreement to cooperate
responses can take advantage of the port in the search and implementation in reaching a mutual benefit.
synergies between water and energy. of effective measures. Building partner- Mutual benefits are essential to
Saving energy means saving water ships consists of making agreements make partnerships work for sustain-
and vice versa. Enhancing the ef- to reap the benefits of cooperation in able development. For instance, a

8 2 - 2014
credible policy to increase water ing. Water risks are not adequately decisions and help providing better
security in the long term can reduce considered in the assessment of regulations and enabling institutional
the risk of investments in the energy energy projects and plans and energy frameworks, among other advantages.
sector. In addition, the simultaneous issues still play a marginal role if any Partnerships are also knowledge al-
increase in both water and energy in water projects appraisal and river liances. They allow Identifying oppor-
security can result in important basin management plans. tunities to improve water and energy
competitive advantages for the entire Partnerships might have multiple access, efficiency and sustainability as
national economy. A long term water functions. They may serve to inte- well as finding the way to implement
and energy strategy with clear targets grate policies and broaden the scope, win-win solutions that are more
on the water and energy portfolio, a enhancing the effectiveness of both sustainable. They allow learning from
prospective role for renewable energy water and energy planning as well the water and energy communities;
and non-conventional water sources, as to coordinate different sectorial they enhance the ability of anticipat-
might speed up the diffusion of the policies, such as land planning, rural ing risks and learning from failure
best available technologies and foster development, nature conservancy, as well as improving the chances of
innovation. These are only some of manufacturing, etc., all within a sus- success. On a broader scale, partner-
the synergies that partnerships can tainable use of water and energy. ships allow building a shared vision
create in order to ensure a sustainable Effective partnerships are social of the challenges involved in the joint
development. constructions that advance through management of water and energy and
But partnerships require an en- mutual commitment and trust and pave the way to enhancing the ac-
abling environment. Institutions and when successful might make im- ceptability of the tough decisions that
technologies still favour the mutual portant contributions to both water need to be made in the short term to
ignorance of water and energy issues and energy governance. They favour come back to a sustainable trend in
both in business and policy mak- transparency, inclusive and legitimate the medium and the long term.

The Nexus in the UN Initiatives
Since the Bonn Nexus Conference energy and a more sustainable and All initiative is a multi-stakeholder
(The Water, Energy and Food Secu- fair use of resources. Under this basis, partnership between governments,
rity Nexus: Solutions for the Green securing water and energy is now the private sector, and civil society.
Economy, 16-18 November 2011), the seen as a key priority within the new Launched by the UN Secretary-
United Nations has triggered the dia- and emerging agenda for the Sustain- General in 2011, it has three in-
logue to promote finding sustainable able Development Goals and the terlinked objectives to be achieved
development pathways by increasing Post-2015 development dialogue. by 2030: (1) Ensure universal
the policy coherence between the To pursue these objectives, the access to modern energy services;
areas of water and energy. UN has organized the following (2) Double the global rate of im-
The UN system – working closely actions: provement in energy efficiency;
with its international partners and • Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (3) Double the share of renewable
donors – is collectively bringing its (2014-2024). Through Resolution energy in the global energy mix.
attention to the Water-Energy Nexus. 67/215, the United Nations Gen- • UN-Energy. Established in 2004,
Particular attention is being paid to eral Assembly declared the decade UN-Energy was initiated as a
identifying best practices that can 2014-2024 as the Decade of Sus- mechanism to promote coherence
make a water and energy-efficient tainable Energy for All. The De- and inter-agency collaboration in
‘Green Industry’ a reality: several cade underscores the importance of the field of energy and to develop
methodologies are at play to improve energy issues for sustainable devel- increased collective engagement
industrial productivity while reducing opment and for the elaboration of between the United Nations and
water and energy use. the Post-2015 development agen- other key external stakeholders.
The United Nations Conference da. It highlights the importance UN-Energy’s work is organized
on Sustainable Development, held of improving energy efficiency, around three thematic clusters: (1)
in Rio de Janeiro, in June 2012, increasing the share of renewable Energy access; (2) Renewable en-
marked an important milestone. The energy and cleaner and energy- ergy; and (3) Energy efficiency.
UN brought together governments, efficient technologies. Enhancing • United Nations Industrial Devel-
international institutions and major the efficiency of the energy models opment Organization (UNIDO).
groups to agree on a range of smart would reduce the stress on water. UNIDO’s primary objective is the
measures that can reduce poverty • Sustainable Energy for All initia- promotion and acceleration of in-
while promoting decent jobs, clean tive. The Sustainable Energy for tegrated and sustainable industrial

10 2 - 2014
development in developing coun- to address challenges in energy and Fig. 4. Geothermal energy
tries, using sustainable practices water management proactively, is converted into electricity
primarily focused on water and the World Bank has embarked on and used to heat green houses.
energy security, and countries with a global initiative: Thirsty energy. Taupo, New Zealand.
economies in transition and the Thirsty Energy aims to help gov- © UN Photo/Evan Schneider.
promotion of international indus- ernments prepare for an uncertain
trial cooperation towards sustain- future, and break disciplinary silos
able development. that prevent cross-sectorial plan-
• United Nations Environment Pro- ning. With the energy sector as
gramme (UNEP). UNEP coordi- an entry point, Thirsty Energy
nates United Nations environmen- quantifies trade-offs and identi-
tal activities, assisting developing fies synergies between water and
countries in implementing envi- energy resource management.
ronmentally sound policies and Thirsty Energy demonstrates the
practices. The Water-Energy Nex- importance of combined energy forts and knowledge. The energy-
us, its interdependencies and best and water management approaches water challenge is too large for any
practices related to energy and wa- through demand-based work in organization to tackle alone.
ter security have been highlighted several countries, thus providing • The 2014 World Water Develop-
in its wide range of publications. examples of how evidence-based ment Report. The 2014 World
UNEP has played a significant role operational tools in resource Water Development Report
in developing international water, management can enhance sustain- (WWDR) provides answers to key
energy and other international con- able development. This created questions such as: what are the
ventions, promoting environmental knowledge will be shared more implications of the Water-Energy
science and information and illus- broadly with other countries facing Nexus for SDGs? How can we
trating the way in which those can similar challenges. Thirsty Energy make better policies for integrated
be implemented in conjunction tailors approaches depending on management and governance?
with policy, working on the de- the available resources, modelling How can we make a business case
velopment and implementation of experience, and institutional and for Water-Energy Nexus? How do
policy with national governments political realities of a country. In we create enabling environments
and regional institutions in con- order to ensure client ownership – public/private, pricing, improv-
junction with Non-Governmental and successful integrated planning, ing joint access – urban vs. rural?
Organizations (NGOs). Thirsty Energy focuses on build- Finally, how do we guarantee the
• World Bank’s Thirsty Energy initia- ing the capacity of relevant stake- long-term sustainability of water
tive. To support countries’ efforts holders and leveraging existing ef- and energy system?

(IWMI)-Tata Water Policy Programme
(ITP) in India and the ‘NEWater pro-
gramme’ in Singapore have been the
2014 Award winners. ITP successfully
filled the gap between research and
policy action to improve groundwater
use in India through energy infra-
structure and policy improvements.
NEWater wide uses water reclamation.
While this is not a new concept, what
is significant is the successful wide-scale
implementation and public engage-
ment plan of NEWater along with
its participatory practices and public
education programmes, which have
allowed delivery of an exponentially
successful service. Both are inspiring
examples on how the Nexus approach
can help improved water and energy
access, efficiency and sustainability.
As explained, the Zaragoza
Conference addressed the challenges,
relationships and partnerships that
make possible to implement solu-
tions for ensuring access, efficiency
and sustainability in the provision
of water and energy. During the
conference, successful initiatives were
presented that are paving the way to-
wards addressing the Nexus. Some of
these from UNIDO, Greenpeace, the
World Bank, and the United Nations
University are presented in the first
part of this publication, coordinated
Fig. 5. Front cover of the final report of “Partnerships for improving by UNW-DOAC. They provide
water and energy access, efficiency and sustainability”.
examples on the way ahead.
In the first part of this publication
Diego Rodríguez from the World Bank
Finally addresses the challenges in the public
sector for integrated water and energy
planning ; Zafar Adeel, Director of
World Water Day (WWD) is held The World Water Day (WWD), held United Nations University Institute
annually on 22 March as a means of in Tokyo, Japan, the 20-21 March for Water, Environment and Health
focusing attention on the importance 2014, addressed the Nexus of Water (UNU-INWEH) addresses the knowl-
of freshwater and advocating for the and Energy in the context of sustain- edge challenges for integrated policy
sustainable management of freshwa- able development. The WWD aimed design and implementation on water
ter resources. Each year, World Water at raising awareness across a broad and energy; Christian Susan and John
Day highlights a specific aspect of range of business domains and gov- G. Payne from the United Nations
freshwater. This year 2014 the focus ernment sectors to solve water and Industrial Development Organization
is on water and energy issues. The energy challenges in a cohesive way. (UNIDO) present the challenges and
United Nations University (UNU) On the occasion of the WWD, the developments in Water and Energy
and the United Nations Industrial UN-Water ‘Water for Life’ Best Prac- Efficiency in Industry and the role
Development Organization (UNI- tices Award was presented. The Inter- of UNIDO in this regard; Annukka
DO) lead the official celebrations. national Water Management Institute Lipponen and Mark Howells, Envi-

12 2 - 2014
ronmental Affairs Officer at the United
Nations Economic Commission for
Europe (UNECE) address how the
UNECE is promoting Policy Respons-
es on the Water and Energy Nexus.

Josefina Maestu
Director, United Nations Office
to support the International
Decade for Action:
Water for Life 2005-2015
Carlos Mario Gómez
University of Alcalá

– 2014 UN-Water Annual International Zaragoza – UN-Water, United Nations University (UNU) Partnerships. UN Global Compact Office. 2007.
Conference. Preparing for World Water Day Water Security & the Global Water Agenda: A
2014: Partnerships for improving water and UN-Water Analytical Brief. news_events/8.1/Joining_forces_for_change.
energy access, efficiency and sustainability. – World Bank Water Partnership Program (WPP). pdf;
UN-Water Decade Programme on Advoca- (2013) Thirsty Energy. news/2007/1000494/index.html; Measuring
cy and Communication (UNW-DPAC) http:// – World Bank (2012) The Future of Water in Afri- water use in a green economy, United Nations can Cities: Why Waste Water? Environment Programme, Paris, France. UNEP
energy_2014/index.shtml – World Bank (2012) Water Partnership Program International Resource Panel. 2012,
– United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cul- (WPP). Strengthen, Secure, Sustain. – Physical Risk. CEO Water Mandate website.
tural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations
World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), water-related-business-risks/physical-risks/
UN-Water. (2006). United Nations World Water Websites – Reputational Risk. CEO Water Mandate web-
Development Report 2. Chapter 9 “Water and – The World Bank. site.
Energy”. node/84122 case/water-related-business-risks/reputation-
– United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cul- – Agricultural exposure to water stress. al-risks/
tural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations – Regulatory Risk. CEO Water Mandate website.
World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), maps/agriculturemap/#x=-49.22&y=-
UN-Water. (2009) United Nations World Water 1.68&l=2&v=home&d=gmia water-related-business-risks/regulatory-risks/
Development Report 3. Part 2, Chapter 7 “Evo- – Beijing High-Level Conference on Climate – Risks by Industry Sector. CEO Water Man-
lution of water use”. Change: Technology Development and date website.
– United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cul- Technology Transfer. National Develop- business-case/water-related-business-risks/
tural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations ment and Reform Commission, Department risks-by-industry-sector/
World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), of Climate Change, P.R. China. 2008. http:// – Risks in The Value Chain. CEO Water Mandate
UN-Water. (2012) United Nations World Water website.
Development Report 4. Volume 1: Managing documents/1463aide_memoire_beijing_ ness-case/risks-in-the-value-chain/
Water under Uncertainty and Risk. hlccc.pdf – Shared Risk. CEO Water Mandate website.
– United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cul- – Changing Expectations. CEO Water Man-
tural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations date website. case/shared-risk/;
World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP). business-case/global-water-trends/changing- ciudad/medioambiente/onu/en/detallePer_
2012 The Dynamics of Global Water Futures expectations/ Onu?id=479
Driving Forces 2011–2050. – Climate Change. CEO Water Mandate website. – Unmet Environmental, Social, and Economic
– United Nations Environment Programme Needs. CEO Water Mandate website. http://
UNEP (2011) Towards a Green Economy: Path- global-water-trends/climate-change/
ways to Sustainable Development and Poverty – Declining Water Quality. CEO Water Man- water-trends/unmet-needs/
Eradication. date website. – Water Governance for Poverty Reduction.
– United Nations Industrial Development Or- business-case/global-water-trends/declining- United Nations Development Programme
ganization UNIDO. (2012) Industrial Develop- water-quality/ (UNDP). 2004.
ment Report 2011: Industrial energy efficiency – Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds. Nation- dam/aplaws/publication/en/publications/
for sustainable wealth creation. al Intelligence Council. 2012. http://www.dni. environment-energy/www-ee-library/water-
– United Nations Industrial Development Orga- gov/files/documents/GlobalTrends_2030.pdf governance/water-governance-for-poverty-
nization UNIDO, 2011. Unido Green Industry – How to Feed the World in 2050. FAO. 2009. reduction/UNDP_Water%20Governance%20
Initiative for Sustainable Industrial Develop- for%20Poverty%20Reduction.pdf
ment. Vienna. wsfs/docs/expert_paper/How_to_Feed_the_ – Water in a changing world (The United Nations
– United Nations Secretary-General (2012). Sus- World_in_2050.pdf World Water Report 3). UN Water. 2009. http://
tainable Energy For All (SE4ALL) initiative. – Increasing Water Demand. CEO Water Man-
– United Nations University Institute for Water, date website. HQ/SC/pdf/WWDR3_Facts_and_Figures.pdf
Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH). (2012) business-case/global-water-trends/increas- – Water Scarcity and Unsustainable Supply. CEO
Global Water Crisis: Addressing an Urgent Se- ing-water-demand/ Water Mandate website. http://ceowaterman-
curity Issue. Papers for the InterAction Council, – Joining Forces for Change: Demonstrating
2011-2012. Innovation and Impact through UN-Business water-scarcity-and-unsustainable-supply/

Will water constrain
our energy future?
Diego J. Rodríguez and Antonia Sohns

Thirsty Energy
integrated planning
economic analysis
climate change
risk and uncertainty


ur water, food, and energy resources are growth as it degrades ecosystems; causes health-related
under ever-growing pressure from increas- diseases; constrains economic activities; and increases
ing populations and economies, and many wastewater treatment costs. Scarcity due to availability or
already struggle to obtain access to these quality is caused not only by physical factors, but also the
resources. In 2012, 2.5 billion people had unreliable or political and economical aspects that affect the allocation,
no access to electricity (EIA 2012), and 2.8 billion people availability, and use of water.
lived in areas of high water stress (WWAP 2012). As Such variability in the supply and quality of water
economies grow and diversify, competing demands for resources is becoming increasingly recognized as a chief
water broaden to include more intensive municipal and constraint for energy companies with inherent risks as-
industrial uses, as well as increased demands for agricul- sociated (see Figure 2).
ture. By 2050, emerging economies, such as those in Af- In 2013, CDP’s Global Water Report found that
rica will generate 7 times more electricity than today, and 82 percent of energy companies and 73 percent of
in Asia, primary energy production will almost double, power utility companies indicate that water has become
and electricity generation will more than triple by that a substantive risk to its business operations, and 59
same year (see Figure 1) (World Energy Council, 2010). percent of energy companies and 67 percent of power
Rapid urbanization and climate change will com- utility companies have experienced water-related busi-
pound challenges to provide adequate supply and access ness impacts in the past five years. This report adds to
across sectors. Further, climate variability and related the mounting evidence that energy and water resources
extreme weather are already causing major floods and must be planned in an integrated manner. In 2012, the
droughts putting populations, livelihoods, and assets in International Energy Agency (IEA) published a chap-
danger. This variability is likely to worsen under current ter in its World Energy Outlook centred on water and
trends. The number of people affected by climate-related energy issues; and the UN’s Stockholm World Water
disasters doubled every decade in the last 40 years (World Week focused on the intersection of energy and water in
Bank 2010). Diminished water quality also impacts September 2014.

14 2 - 2014
Fig. 1. Growth in Electricity Generation by 2050.

Fig. 2. Risks for the Energy Sector.

Ensuring that energy and wa- Despite the inherent interconnect- water policy is rare. Furthermore, the
ter demands are met has profound edness of water and energy resources, current internal incentives system still
implications on the other respective natural variability and climate change’s favours independent sectorial outcomes
resource, as water is needed to gener- impact on the resources is made more over cross-sectorial results.
ate energy (hydropower, thermo- complicated by inadequate institutions In order to ensure we are invest-
electric cooling, fuel extraction and and capacity. Despite the importance ing in climate-smart infrastructure
refining, irrigation for bio fuels) of energy and water, and the close and integrated water and energy re-
and energy is needed to extract, relationship between the two, funding, source management, it is necessary to
treat and distribute water and to policy making and oversight of these develop better tools and institutions
clean the used and polluted water. resources in industrialized and develop- to assess and manage cross-sectorial
No matter what the source, energy ing countries are performed by differ- implications and the potential mag-
and water are inextricably linked, and ent people in separate agencies in many nitude of water and energy stresses
must be addressed. governments. Thus, integrated energy– for the energy sector.

Fragmentation in Planning and Investments

Current planning tools at the regional and investments intending to address pumping, and treatment of water.
or country levels make projections water constraints. This is of particular Few, if any, of the water allocation
based on economic and population concern for countries with strong models quantify the imposed energy
growth, while there is a limited body energy demand growth, or significant consumption associated with differ-
of analysis to inform decision makers declines in per capita water supplies. ent water demands. This approach
about the consequences of chang- In the context of conventional does not adequately reflect the dy-
ing water availability due to growing water supply planning, analysis is namic interplay between energy and
demand or the impacts on climate primarily concerned with developing water, especially when considering
change, both in the aggregate and water resource systems to manage the large energy demands that may
across sectors, particularly at the basin the distribution of water in time and be incurred as a result of transport-
level. Thus, models today lack the ca- space in order to allocate the water ing (pumping) and treating water to
pacity to address the wider social, eco- supplies to meet a specific set of ob- meet an end use.
nomic, and environmental impacts of jectives or demands. Most water allo- Water models typically require
the Energy-Water challenge, and are cation modelling assumes that there a high level of hydrologic detail on a
not able to identify the implications are always adequate energy supplies particular watershed, making them
of potential water and energy policies available to facilitate the catchment, data-intensive as well as complex.

16 2 - 2014
Fig. 3. The expansion of food production through irrigation groundwater in Sauth Korea.
Cheju Island, Sauth Korea. © UN Photo/M Guthrie.

These models can provide a high tion at a national level requires more is not considered dynamically within
level of detail on water circulation economic detail on competition models. In these situations, there
in the watershed (stream flows, among alternative water uses. is an inherent multiplier on both
evapotranspiration, return flows, Similarly, energy planning rarely energy and water demands that may
exchange between surface and takes into account water concerns be overlooked when employing the
ground water), which is valuable in the development of their growth traditional approach to modelling
for considering the pros and cons and management frameworks. and analysis. While this effect may be
of e.g. a specific new hydropower Conventional energy planning is quite marginal in regions with ample
investment. On the other hand, primarily concerned with siting and supplies of both water and energy,
scaling-up the use of such models cost requirements for energy genera- it could become a central cross-sector
for water budgets at a country level tion in the context of transmitting constraint in regions with resource
with multiple watersheds imposes a the produced energy to population scarcity and will require accurate
large data and analytical burden to centres. Except for hydro-power- evaluation and analysis.
maintain a level of detail that may dominated systems, the availability Energy sector models have
not be needed for first-cut resource of water supply necessary for power advanced substantially over the
assessment and the broad implica- generation at the upstream planning past four decades, and these can
tions of changes in water utilization, stage is typically assumed to exist and also incorporate estimates of wa-
including for energy sector develop- is often not considered to be a limit- ter demand for energy production
ment. In addition, while economic ing factor in operations although it through simple coefficients of water
parameters can be combined with is accepted that potential constraints utilization per unit of output, mainly
hydrological modelling to analyze will be an important factor. The for electricity, but can include water
the costs and value of output for consumptive use of water necessary for bio fuels, mining and refining
a new hydroelectric investment, for the generation of energy produc- as well. A wide range of models is
economic analysis of water alloca- tion required by water infrastructure available, from fairly basic electricity

capacity expansion models, to very is to do so in an integrated way so as Robust planning frameworks must
detailed electricity network models to fully take into account the many be accompanied by governance struc-
to economy-wide general equilib- complex inter-relationships not only tures that harmonize policies across
rium models with representations within the energy sector, but also in major economic sectors and elimi-
of various types of energy supply other sectors. nate perverse incentives across water
and demand. However, the energy Assessing the multi-dimensional and energy. For example, energy
models do not address total water synergies, trade-offs and risks are of policies that provide subsidies that
availability and its dynamic nature increasing relevance given the future promote overextraction of ground-
or (economic as well as volumetric) challenges, such as by leveraging water resources and/or water policies
tradeoffs among water uses. In some the existing modelling capacity of the that do not allow for proper pricing.
advanced models, water availability client countries and building on their These policies are usually in place in
and variability is taken into account energy and water planning models countries where there is also a severe
as it affects hydropower production and capacities. To contribute to this institutional fragmentation in which
and with that, other supply options effort, the World Bank has launched each sector plans their investments
to the system. The linkages of such the Thirsty Energy initiative, which in a siloed approach. As such, when
water availability and variability with leads in this effort by working with contemplating integrated planning, it
other sectors are usually handled by developing countries to integrate is imperative that the proper institu-
incorporating exogenous constraints dynamic water variables into energy tional, regulatory, and legal reforms
or parameters in the energy models modelling and development plans. are also performed.
(e.g. minimum environmental or
navigation outflows, quotas for ir-
rigations, among others).
Projected climate change and
impacts on water availability are not
Thirsty Energy Initiative
commonly factored into convention-
al energy planning and operations. The World Bank’s Thirsty Energy tate tailored analyses over different
Global warming will likely cause Initiative (TE) encourages building a geographical regions and scales (e.g.,
increased competition for water re- framework that provides interactive national, state, county, watershed,
sources among economic sectors (e.g. environments to explore trade-offs interconnection region). It attempts
Industry and agriculture) and to sup- and evaluate alternatives among a to optimize the combined system (to
ply water to increasing populations broad list of energy/water options both minimize cost and consump-
and maintain healthy ecosystems. and objectives (see Figure 4). In tion). Based on Thirsty Energy’s
One of the greatest challenges when particular, the modelling framework research, it was found that the most
assessing impacts of climate change needs to be flexible in order to facili- effective way to improve Energy-
Water modelling is by incorporating
water resources and uses into exist-
ing energy modelling frameworks.
Strengthening any modelling
framework and capacities will require
a more robust treatment of risk
and uncertainty. Resource cost and
availability are typically defined by
supply-cost curves, which are inputs
to the model, and uncertainty in the
cost or availability of specific resourc-
es is traditionally handled through
scenario or sensitivity analyses, which
can determine how much the model
results change when these parameters
are changed. Examples of when it is

Fig. 4. The Thirsty

Energy Initiative.

18 2 - 2014
important to investigate uncertainty tion and its correlation to the energy
in this area include situations where service demand projection. Energy
the energy system is dependent on a system models do not normally deal
significant amount of imported fuels, with this kind of variability. Water
or where environmental or techno- models are often used to determine
logical concerns may significantly al- the resilience of the water system to
ter the cost or availability of extract- extremes of weather in a simulation
ing or processing certain resources, framework. Energy system mod-
and where weather/climate unpre- els are more often used to identify
dictability may have extreme impacts economically optimal investments out
on water for power generation. of a large variety of possible options.
Uncertainty in demand projections Integrating water systems into energy
is typically only investigated through optimization models will require
scenario analyses, where specific careful design of the input data sets
changes in future energy demands are to avoid or minimize inconsistencies.
postulated based on specific changes Precipitation levels and temperature
in underlying assumptions behind data are primary drivers of water
the original demand projection, such availability, and they also directly drive
as a change in GDP or population the levels of energy services required
growth rates. With the introduction of for space heating, space cooling and
water into energy models, new areas many other energy services. Integrated
of uncertainty are introduced. The models will require development of
biggest of these is the variable nature a coherent set of weather and energy
of the underlying weather data projec- demand projections.

From Planning to Investments

Integrated planning is a necessary The International Energy Agency aged to promote sustainable service
but not sufficient condition to ad- (IEA) has estimated that nearly $1 delivery, especially in the poorest
dress the challenges of the Nexus. It trillion in cumulative investment countries. Moreover, regulations and
is also important to increase institu- ($49 billion per year) will be needed policies will be required to incentiv-
tional capacity, and employ efficient to achieve universal energy access by ize efficient and integrated infrastruc-
technologies and solutions sup- 2030. If investments are not made, ture for a more sustainable future.
ported by the client country, and to 1 billion people will remain without Traditionally, most infrastructure
invest in infrastructure. Infrastruc- access to electricity in 2030. Even services have been provided by the
ture is an efficient means of increas- greater is the need for investment in public sector. It is estimated that 75
ing resiliency to climate change and water infrastructure. For developing percent of water infrastructure invest-
improving water and energy man- countries alone, it has been estimated ments in developing countries come
agement, yet there are key funding that US$103 billion per year are from public sources (Rodríguez et al.
gaps that threaten economic growth required to finance water, sanitation 2012b). Nevertheless, given the in-
and could lead to an increase in the and wastewater treatment through frastructure financing gap, the public
number of people living in poverty. to 2015 (Yepes 2008). All of these sector alone cannot provide enough
Estimates suggest that developing estimates are even higher if climate funding to satisfy the needs of the
countries will require US$1.1 tril- change mitigation and adaptation increasing demand for services.
lion in annual expenditure through strategies are incorporated. Private capital must be involved
to 2015 to meet their growing In order to overcome the fund- to close the gap, and yet, private in-
demand for infrastructure (World ing gaps and achieve resilient infra- vestors are usually reluctant to invest
Bank 2011) – this is more than structure for a sustainable future, in infrastructure projects, including
double their US$500 billion annual private investment, together with those relating to water and energy,
spending (Qureshi 2011). public financing, should be encour- due to the risks involved such as the

long payoff period and sunk na- not properly targeted and provided financing mechanisms promoting
ture of the investment. When they limited benefits to the poor (To- sustainable and integrated planning
do invest, they prefer to work in man et al., 2011). In order to ensure so that future infrastructure is lower
middle income countries where the a sustainable infrastructure legacy, in maintenance, less expensive, and
risk is lower and capacities are high, we need regulations, policies and more efficient.
leaving low income countries depen-
dent on volatile public budgets and
donor commitments. This environ-
ment should coordinate efforts by
the private sector, governments and
Solutions Exist but…
international institutions; enhance
capacity-building of local institu- There is a vast literature presenting thermal power plant cooling, and
tions; improve public spending and different solutions to the integrated even energy recovery from sewage
its monitoring; and reduce invest- investments of water and energy and water are just a few other options
ment inefficiencies and help utilities as such there are many other oppor- that can provide income for one op-
to move towards cost recovery. tunities for the joint development eration and make a waste a resource.
As the lifespan of most water and and management of water and en- It is even possible to save energy and
energy infrastructure is more than ergy infrastructure and technologies water more simply, through leakage
30 years, decisions being made today that maximize co-benefits and mini- reduction in the water sector, im-
are locking rivers, cities, ecosys- mize negative trade-offs (see Figure proving energy efficiency, or increase
tems, power systems into particular 5). Economic analysis can allow awareness of the issue to change the
consumption patterns. Recent work countries to decide if such models consumer behaviour and decrease
by the IEA (2010) suggests that in are viable in their context. Com- energy and water waste.
2008, energy consumption subsidies bined power and desalination plants, Besides the pursuit of new tech-
added up to more than US$550 combined heat and power plants, nical solutions, political frameworks
billion globally, but much of it was using alternative water sources for need to be designed to promote

Fig. 5. Solutions to Address the Nexus.

20 2 - 2014
cooperation and integrated plan- Reforming existing management Fig. 6. Treatment Plant
ning among sectors as well. Cur- frameworks, from modelling, eco- Wastewater.
rent management frameworks are nomics, and political, countries will Danbury, Connecticut, USA.
developed based on risk avoidance be able to develop a more systematic © UN Photo/Evan Schneider.
and control of resources as the approach to consider the complexities
paramount considerations in tradi- of water and energy issues, and the
tional electrical utility planning and existing interactions and relationships
water resources planning. Yet, the between sectors. But this is easier said duction. Tightening constraints may
success of planning can be best met than done. Reforming political and introduce the potential for reduc-
through the participation of all units institutional process is not an easy tions in economic activities. Increas-
of government and stakeholders in task. Transferring technologies either, ing water demand and scarcity have
decision-making through a process as this process is highly correlated potential to increase market prices for
of coordination and conflict resolu- with existing capacities and regulatory water and energy and lead to redis-
tion. Integrated resource planning of and legal environments in the coun- tributions of these increasingly scarce
the Energy-Water challenge empha- tries. Furthermore, many of these resources between sectors. In the
sizes the importance of establishing a technologies are quite costly and dif- case of water for example, increasing
more open and participatory deci- ficult to implement. Understanding scarcity in one area is likely to result
sion-making process and coordinat- the local contexts becomes essential in the increased purchase of food
ing the many water institutions that if we are to ensure that many of the products from another area. When
govern water resources. Therefore, existing solutions can be fully imple- this occurs, significant structural ad-
Energy-Water planning approaches mented in the developing world. And justment can occur and needs to be
should encourage the development quantification of potential tradeoffs managed with sensitivity in order to
of new institutional roles in addi- and synergies is essential. ensure that overall economic activity
tion to new analytical tools. It also Economic analysis can help cap- and employment is not reduced in
promotes consensus building and ture tradeoffs in Energy-Water man- the short term. Actual outcomes will
alternative dispute resolution over agement decisions. Water and energy depend on the capacity of a commu-
conflict and litigation. are crucial inputs into economic pro- nity to adjust, rates of technological

progress in development of water nomic value of water to the energy for water than competing agricul-
efficiency in energy and food pro- sector, at the margin, will generally tural uses – with the associated risk
duction, rates of knowledge provi- be greater than its economic value to that some agricultural groups may
sion, institutional, governance, and agriculture, while the implicit politi- seek to use their political power to
planning arrangements to facilitate cal power of the agricultural sector redress this difference in economic
efficient investment and synergies in can sometimes be greater than that power, such as by portraying the
water and energy planning. of the energy sector. This implies energy sector as damaging agricul-
One of the more difficult issues that the energy sector will gener- tural interests and threatening food
to manage is the fact that the eco- ally be willing and able to pay more security.

Concluding Remarks
Meeting future demands for water may have a greater impact on water governments and companies avoid
and energy resources requires in- resources than other renewables. Or financial losses in energy and power
novative approaches that encour- establishing emissions caps can pro- investments, infrastructure prone to
age cross-sectorial cooperation and mote the use of more water-intensive risk in the wake of climate change,
improve analysis of water and energy energy producing technologies with and unstable economies.
tradeoffs at the national and regional potential negative impacts on the
levels. Furthermore, as organiza- sustainability of water resources and
tions and experts go forward, creat- imposing negative environmental
ing Sustainable Development Goals externalities.
and other targets, it is critical to cut As governments and institu-
Diego J. Rodríguez
across sectors in analysis because tions globally consider goals of the Senior Economist
improvements for one goal may future, best practices of today can Water Global Practice, The World Bank Group
have negative impacts on another. be employed to enhance efficiency,
Antonia Sohns
Such as increasing the share of bio resiliency, and integrated plan- MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management
fuels in renewable energy generation ning. These approaches will help Freelance writer

– Adelman, Jacob. 2012. China, India Lack Water – Delgado, Anna. 2012. Water Footprint of Electric ment without Carbon in Latin America and
for Coal Plant Plans, GE Director Says. Note writ- Power Generation: Modeling its use and analyzing Caribbean. Boston, MA: Stockholm Environ-
ten on Bloomberg news on June 8, 2012. options for a water-scarce future. Master’s Thesis. ment Institute.
– Argonne National Laboratory. 2009. Consump- Master of Science in Technology and Policy, Mas- – Faeth, P. 2012. “U.S. Energy security and water:
tive Water Use in the Production of Ethanol and sachusetts Institute of Technology. Boston, MA. The challenges we face.” Environment: Sci-
Petroleum Gasoline. January 2009. – Dozier A., Labadie and Zimmerle. 2012. Inte- ence and Policy for Sustainable Development.
– Argonne National Laboratory. Energy and Pow- grating River Basin Operations Modeling with January-February 2012.
er Evaluation Program (ENPEP-BALANCE). Power System Economic Dispatch. Colorado: – Glennie, P., Lloyd, G. J. and H. Larsen. 2010. The
– Bazilian M., Rogner H., Howells M., Hermann Colorado State University. Water-Energy Nexus: The water demands of re-
S., Arent D., Gielen D., Steduto P., Mueller – Electric Power Research Institute. 2012. Tech- newable and non-renewable electricity sources.
A., Komor P., Tol R.S.J. and K.K. Yumkella. nology Innovation Water Use and Availability Danish Hydraulic Institute (DHI): Horsholm,
2011. “Considering the energy, water, and Program. Denmark.
food Nexus: Towards an integrated modelling – Energy Information Administration (EIA). 2003. – Hermann, S., Rogner, H., Young, C., Welsch, M.,
approach.” Energy Policy. Volume 39, Issue 12: Annual Energy Outlook 2001: With Projections to Ramma, I., Howells, M., Dercon, G., Nguyen, M.,
pp. 7896-7906. 2020. Washington, DC: EIA. Fischer, G. and H. Veld (Forthcoming) Seeking
– Bhatt V., Crosson, Horak and A. Reisman. – Energy Information Administration (EIA). CLEWS – Climate, Land, Energy and Water
2008. New York City Energy-Water Integrated 2012. Annual Energy Outlook 2012. Washing- Strategies – A pilot case study in Mauritius.
Planning: A Pilot Study. Brookhaven National ton, DC: EIA. – Hoff, H. 2011. Understanding the Nexus. Back-
Laboratory. NY: USA. – Energy Technology Innovation Policy Re- ground Paper for the Bonn2011 Conference:
– Brookhaven National Laboratory. 2008. New search Group, Belfer Center for Science and The Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus.
York City Energy-Water Integrated Planning: A International Affairs 2010. Water Consumption Stockholm Environment Institute: Stockholm,
Pilot Study. December 2008. of Energy Resource Extraction, Processing, and Sweden.
– Dale, Larry. 2011. Lawrence Berkeley National Conversion. – Hoff, H., Bonzi, Joyce, and K. Tielborger. 2011.
Laboratory. Modeling Energy Water Use in Cali- – Escobar M., Flores Lopez, and V. Clark. 2011. A Water Resources Planning Tool for the Jordan
fornia: Overview. November 2011. Energy-Water-Climate Planning for Develop- River Basin. Water 2011. ISSN 2073-4441.

22 2 - 2014
– International Energy Agency (IEA). 2010. World
Energy Outlook 2010. IEA: Paris, France.
– International Energy Agency (IEA). 2012. Gold-
en Rules for a Golden Age of Gas: World Energy
Outlook – Special Report on Unconventional
Gas. IEA: Paris, France.
– Kahrl, F. and D. Roland-Holst. 2008. “China’s Wa-
ter-Energy Nexus.” Water Policy. 10, pp. 51-65.
– Kenward, Alyson. 2011. “In Tennessee, Heat
Waves Diminish Nuclear Power Output.” In
Climate Central online news service.
– Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 2010.
Water-Energy & Climate: Modeling the Linkages.
– Macknick, Jordan, Robin Newmark, Garvin
Heath, and KC Hallett. 2011. A Review of Op-
erational Water Consumption and Withdrawal
Factors for Electricity Generating Technologies.
Technical Report NREL/TP-6A20-50900 for the
National Renewable Energy Lab. March 2011.
– Malik, Bandana Kaur. 2009. Like Water for En-
ergy, and Energy for Water. Environmental and
Energy Study Institute.
– Miller C.A., Loughlin, and R. Dodder. 2010.
Energy & Water: Potential Futures. Office of ments. National Energy Technology Labora- gions Outside of the United States. Department
Research and Development-Environmental tory – U.S. Department of Energy. of Energy: Washington, DC.
Protection Agency. – Smajgl, Alex, Steve Hatfield-Dodds, Jeff Con- – Voinov, Alexey and Hal Cardwell. 2009. “The
– National Energy Technology Laboratory nor, Mike Young, David Newth, Mac Kirby Energy-Water Nexus: Why Should We Care?”
(NETL). 2004, updated August 2006. Estimat- and Onil Banerjee, 2012, Energy-Water Nexus Universities Council on Water Resources Journal
ing Freshwater Needs to Meet 2025 Electricity for Green Growth: Towards a better basis for of Contemporary Water Research & Education.
Generating Capacity Forecasts. United States policy and investment decisions. Discussion Issue 143, pp. 17-29, December 2009.
Department of Energy. paper prepared for the World Bank. Energy – Wang, Young-Doa. 2009. “Integrated Policy
– National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Transformed Flagship and Water for a Healthy and Planning for Water and Energy.” Universi-
2003. Consumptive Water Use for U.S. Power Country Flagship, CSIRO, Canberra, Australia. ties Council on Water Resources Journal of Con-
Production. December 2003. – Sri, Perini Praveena. 2010. Electrical Energy-Wa- temporary Water Research & Education. Issue
– National Research Council (NRC). 2010. Elec- ter Nexus: Managing the Seasonal Linkages of 142, pp. 1-6, June 2009.
tricity from Renewable Resources: Status Pros- Fresh Water Use in Energy Sector for Sustainable – Webber M. 2008. “ Water versus Energy”. Scien-
pects and Impediments. The National Acad- Future. East Asia Bureau of Economic Research tific American, Earth 3.0. pp. 34-41.
emies Press: Washington, D.C. Working Paper WP-2010-017. – Webber, Michael. 2009. Testimony to the Unit-
– Olsson, Gustaf. 2012. Water and Energy Nexus: – Stillwell A., King, Webber and Hardberger Dun- ed States Senate Committee on Energy and
Threats and Opportunities. London: IWA Pub- can. 2009. Energy-Water Nexus in Texas. Austin, Natural Resources. Center for International
lishing. Texas: The University of Texas at Austin and Energy & Environmental Policy. The University
– Pate, Ron, Hightower, Mike, Cameron, Chris Environmental Defense Fund. of Texas at Austin. 2009.
and Wayne Einfeld. 2007. Overview of Ener- – Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). 2011. – World Bank. 2010. Sustaining Water for All in
gy-Water Interdependencies and the Emerging Understanding the Nexus: Background pa- a Changing Climate: World Bank Group Imple-
Energy Demands on Water Resources. Sandia per for the Bonn 2011 Nexus Conference mentation Progress Report. Washington: DC,
National Laboratories (Sandia Labs). Sand The Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus, World Bank.
2007-1349c. Solutions for the Green Economy 16 – 18 – World Bank. 2011. Transformation through
– Pierce, Suzanne. 2008. Energy and Water, a November 2011. Infrastructure: World Bank Group Infrastructure
Critical Piece is Missing. Sandia National Labo- – Stockholm Environment Institute. 2010. In- Strategy Update FY2012-FY2015. Washington,
ratories (Sandia Labs). May 9, 2008 Side Event. tegrating WEAP and LEAP Tools for Modeling DC: World Bank.
– Qureshi, Zia. 2012. Rebalancing, Growth, and Energy-Water Connections. Boston, MA: Stock- – World Business Council for Sustainable Devel-
Development in a Multipolar Global Economy. holm Environment Institute. opment (WBCSD). 2009. Water, Energy and Cli-
The World Bank, May 2011. – Stockholm Environment Institute. 2011. En- mate Change: A Contribution from the Business
– Rodríguez, Diego, Anna Delgado, Pat DeLa- ergy-Water-Climate Planning for Development Community. Geneva, Switzerland.
quil, Antonia Sohns. 2013. Thirsty Energy. Wa- Without Carbon in Latin America and the Carib- – World Energy Council. 2010. Water for Energy.
ter Papers. World Bank Group. June 2013. bean. Boston, MA: Stockholm Environment London, UK: World Energy Council.
– Rodríguez, Diego, Caroline van den Berg, and Institute. – World Energy Council. 2010. Water for Energy.
Amanda McMahon. 2012. Investing in Water – Toman, Michael, Daniel Bentiez, and Stefan London, UK: World Energy Council.
Infrsatructure: Capital, Operations, and Main- Csordas, 2011. Infrastructure and Sustainable – World Policy Institute. 2011. The Water-Energy
tenance. Water Papers. World Bank Group. Development. In Postcrisis Growth and Devel- Nexus: Adding Water to the Energy Agenda.
November 2012. opment: A Development Agenda for the G-20 Diana Glassman, Michele Wucker, Tanushree
– Rubbelke, 2011. “Impacts of climate change on edited by Shahrokh Fardoust. Isaacman and Corinne Champilou. New York:
European critical infrastructures: The case of – United States Department of Energy. 2006. World Policy Institute and EBG Capital, March
the power sector,” Rubbelke, D. and S. Vogele, Energy Demands on Water Resources. Report 2011.
Environ. Sci. Policy, vol. 14, p. 53–63, 2011. to Congress on the Interdependency of En- – World Water Assessment Program (WWAP).
– Sandia National Laboratory. 2011. Energy and ergy and Water. December 2006. United States 2012. The United Nations World Water Devel-
Water in the Great Lakes. Albuquerque, New Government Accountability Office (GAO). opment Report 4. Paris, UNESCO.
Mexico. 2011. Energy-Water Nexus: Amount of Energy – World Water Assessment Program (WWAP).
– Sauer, A., Klop, and Agrawal. 2010. Over Heat- Needed to Supply, Use, and Treat Water is Lo- 2012. The United Nations World Water Develop-
ing: Financial Risks from Water Constraints on cation-Specific and Can Be Reduced by Certain ment Report 4. Paris, UNESCO.
Power Generation in Asia. Washington, DC: Technologies and Approaches. Washington, DC. – Yepes, Tito. 2008. Investment Needs for Infra-
World Resource Institute. – United States Department of Energy. Energy structure in Developing Countries 2008-2015.
– Shuster E. 2008. Estimating Freshwater Needs to Information Administration. 2011. World Shale Latin American and Caribbean Region, World
Meet Future Thermoelectric Generation Require- Gas Resources: An Initial Assessment of 14 Re- Bank. Unpublished.

Knowledge Challenges
for Policy Integration of Water
and Energy Domains
Dr. Zafar Adeel

water management
energy generation
and security
water-energy nexus
policy integration
and data gaps

An Introduction to the Water-Energy Nexus

ater and energy have always been closely bio fuel crops, or to serve as a drilling/pumping fluid in
associated, and in many ways, have been hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) systems (WWAP, 2014).
the defining element in industrial and Some forms of energy utilize water in a consumptive pat-
economic development. The notion of tern, making it unavailable for subsequent use because of
a “Nexus” of these sectors –that is a focal point at which quality degradation or evaporation. Other forms, like hy-
the management, planning, and resource allocation dropower are non-consumptive and may be further linked
intersect– is not new either. A number of conferences and to water management and irrigation schemes. Converse-
meetings in the last decade have expounded on the notion ly, water pumping, treatment, desalination, delivery, and
of this decade, and with some variance have included a wastewater management all require significant amounts
number of other elements also, including food, urbaniza- of energy (Hoffman, 2011). Globally, it is estimated that
tion, health, etc. (Hoff, 2011; WEF, 2011; ADB 2013). about 8% of all energy generated is consumed for wa-
The idea that the Nexus approach can help bring down ter management, making it a sizable energy consumer
vertical silos separating historically distinct sectors, and (WWAP, 2012).
thus achieving greater efficiency, is a major consideration There is yet another societal nexus in which the lack
in the ongoing dialogue on this topic. The idea, however, of water and energy becomes a significant detriment
is not without its detractors who claim that such merg- to human, social, and economic development. The
ers across sectors and governmental bureaucracies are not poorest of the poor –the so-called bottom billion– are
feasible, and given some major disparities amongst the re- people in developing countries who are without access
spective sectors, may even prove to be counter-productive. to water, modern forms of energy, or adequate sanita-
Energy generation, regardless of the technology or tion (Sumner, 2010; WWAP 2014). The consequences
resource used, requires some form of water –either to move are devastating in terms of a circular cycle of poverty,
turbines in hydropower generation configurations, to cool illness and deprivation. The author has publicly argued
energy generation thermal and nuclear plants, to irrigate that addressing the global social development crisis

24 2 - 2014
requires a consolidated approach, in to review a broad range of perspec- Fig. 1. The search options for
which combined solutions for water, tive and synthesize some key points addressing the water tightness
energy and sanitation are provided presented in this paper. has driven companies to favour above
to the bottom billion people on a In order to better understand the all one: the construction
priority basis (UN-Water, 2011). nature of the “Water-Energy Nexus”, of desalination plants. Egypt.
As the United Nations collec- a more fundamental analysis of the
tively declared the World Water Day disparities, knowledge gaps, and
for 2014 to focus on the Water-En- policy roadblocks is needed. This
ergy Nexus, a number of dialogues paper aims to explore these underly-
focused on the essentials, opportuni- ing challenges, which may hinder the
ties, and challenges of the Nexus. adoption of the Nexus approach, and
The author, being responsible for offers some recommendations about
organizing such dialogues, was able ways to overcome them.

Knowledge Challenges for the Water-Energy Nexus

1. Identifying and Quantifying Trad- processes are oblivious of these could lead to long-term cost
eoffs: The competition for capital tradeoffs or do not possess the savings, particularly in terms of
and financial resources for water tools to adequately quantify these the water delivery costs (ADB,
and energy sectors is significant and tradeoffs for rational policymak- 2013). Such higher initial capital
often not neutral (Bizikova et al., ing (Hoff, 2011). investments can be more readily
2013). In other words, policy For example, switching to air- justified in situations where water
formulation at national level cooled or water-efficient thermal scarcity or water pricing have re-
must account for some tradeoffs. power plants requires a higher sulted in water becoming a major
Many national development capital investment up front but cost component in energy genera-

Fig. 2. Dam power plant tion. Similarly, many developing The asymmetries between the
Ruzizi One. Democratic Republic of countries have shied away from water and energy sectors also
Congo.© UN Photo/Marie Frechon. investment in large-scale dams; feed into the difficulty of rational
the common arguments offered quantification of tradeoffs. Glob-
in opposition are societal impacts ally, energy sector is estimated
through displaced population, en- at about US$ 6 trillion, where
vironment and ecosystem impacts as the water sector is estimated
of reservoirs, perturbation of wa- to be less than a tenth of that
ter sharing amongst riparians, etc. (WWAP, 2014). In many coun-
However, these dialogues often tries, the energy sector is greater
become politicized and polarized; in its financial mobilization by
it is rare to have an unbiased dis- one or two orders of magnitude
course that would also account for when compared to the water sec-
savings in energy costs, creating of tor. That also implies that the
economic opportunities, increase respective interest lobbies are also
in food security, and flood protec- disproportionate in size and wield
tion (Baghel and Nüsser, 2010). A asymmetric influence in policy
major hurdle is that the full range formulation processes.
of benefits associated with these 2. Leveraging Benefit and their Shar-
elements cannot be easily mon- ing: As noted earlier, it is often
etized or quantified. difficult to conduct quantitative

26 2 - 2014
tradeoffs between the water and This situation becomes progres- tive management of water and
energy sectors, but it is even more sively more challenging when energy resources exposes societies
challenging to quantify knock-on water and energy are shared across to a range of risks (Kumar, 2005;
benefits. For example, more ef- jurisdictions and/or boundaries. Wüstenhagen, 2007). These in-
ficient energy generation could Mechanisms for transboundary clude impacts of extreme events
have beneficial impacts on human sharing are typically aligned to like floods and droughts, social
and ecosystem health, but they work on either energy or water, unrest caused by energy and water
might accrue in the medium- to and very rarely both. From a shortages, economic destabiliza-
long-term; direct attribution and rational standpoint, one might tion by disruption in flow of criti-
accounting of ecosystem benefits argue that mutually sharing con- cal resources for industrial and ag-
poses a major scientific challenge. joined water and energy-related ricultural activity, reduced agricul-
Similarly, better provisioning of benefits would create more op- tural production and impacts on
water and energy at the house- tions and opportunities for reach- food security, and increased costs
hold level could drive the public ing compromises. The geopolitical in public health. Some researchers
health costs associated with acute realities and historical resource are claiming, for example Gleick
and chronic health problems. Ac- conflicts often intercede and inter- (2014) in the case of the ongoing
curately projecting these indirect rupt the likelihood of mutually Syrian civil war, that a combined
benefits, such as reduced health agreeable benefit sharing formulas. realization of these risks can cause
care costs, is often beyond the fi- 3. Undertaking Meaningful Risk major societal disruptions.
nancial planning capacity available Analyses: From first principles, Even when adverse impacts can
in developing countries. it stands to reason that ineffec- be quantified, the results of such

Fig. 3. Hellisheidi geothermal power meaningful risk analyses are often assess the efficiency of existing and
plant in Iceland. Located in the Hengill trumped by short-termed political new technologies in terms of water
area, an active volcanic mountain range expediencies. While governments consumption, and somewhat less so
in southwestern Iceland.
are hampered by political exigen- for assessing energy generation and
cies, the private sector has recently transmission efficiency. In most de-
Hengill, Iceland.
stepped up and taken on the task veloped and developing countries,
© UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.
of quantifying risk based on scien- the notion of energy efficiency is
tific evidence. Foremost amongst relatively well established and does
these is the reinsurance industry, not require expenditure of politi-
which has invested considerable cal capital to demonstrate success.
resources in understanding and Water efficiency, however, becomes
quantifying risks, and exploring a factor only in extreme water-
risk mitigation approaches (Mills, scarcity situations, but is otherwise
2005). More generally the World ignored. A key reason for this is the
Business Council on Sustainable inadequacy of water pricing, allow-
Development has also taken on ing excessive water consumption
a more forward-looking stance with little financial consequence. At
towards understanding and ad- the same time, pricing of water ser-
dressing these risks (Sandhu et al., vices and supply remains a politi-
2012; WBCSD, 2002). cally and emotionally charged issue
4. Assessing Resource-Efficient Tech- –most politicians tend to shy away
nologies: It remains a challenge to from that topic, as a consequence.

28 2 - 2014
Creating Partnerships for Policy Integration
In order to overcome some of the Water-Energy Nexus offers a new
challenges identified in the previous opportunity to engage the general
section, out-of-the-box and innova- public and elicit its interest into a
tive thinking is required. One might forward-looking dialogue. Many
argue that policy integration around of the benefits achieved from
the Water-Energy Nexus can break improved water-energy security
down knowledge barriers and create accrue in the short-term, making
enabling environment for dem- the notion tangible and digestible
onstrating achievement of higher to the general public.
benefits. Such opportunities are often The same argument could also ap-
accompanied by risks, both of which ply to consumptive sectors of the
are discussed in this section. economy, most notably manufac-
1. Opportunity – Driving Develop- turing and agriculture. Creating a
ment Agenda: The Water-Energy space for policy dialogue offers the
Nexus offers a fresh policy per- opportunity for these sectors to
spective in which emerging no- look outside the ‘box’ and deter-
tions like the green economy and mine how increased water-energy
triple bottom lines can be easily efficiency can drive towards im-
incorporated (UN-Water, 2011). proved bottom lines.
The “newness” of the concept, on 3. Risk – Enhancing Skewed Public
its own, can create space for poli- Perceptions: Considerable nega-
cy dialogue, and the ability to de- tive opinions and suspicions exist
fine the nexus in specific national around the private domains of the
contexts. As the international water and energy sectors. Examples
community gears up to define the abound. The hydraulic fracturing
Post-2015 development agenda in energy sector is viewed as a major
terms of Sustainable Development pollutant of aquifers and even
Goals (SDGs), this agenda needs causing minor local earthquakes.
to be further translated in national The hydropower sector is deemed
5. Disparity in Energy-Water Data terms, identifying approaches for to be a destroyer of aquatic and
Availability and Access: As the implementation and resource allo- land-based ecosystems, and a dis-
energy sector is commercialized cation. Recent reports have argued ruptor of communities impacted
to a much greater extent, stream- that the Water-Energy Nexus by water reservoirs. Coal-based
lined within economic flows, offers a stable platform for this power generation is deemed to be
and retains considerable private development agenda formulation a major contributor towards global
sector engagement and interest, (UNU and UNOSD, 2013). climate change, a cause of negative
pertinent data are readily avail- 2. Opportunity – Promoting Sustain- impacts in local health and ecosys-
able at sub national, national and able Consumption Patterns: Many tems. Nuclear energy sector, im-
international scales. In contrast, researchers in the recent years pacted by recent disasters in Japan,
the availability of water data suf- have explored the notion of plan- is viewed with great suspicion.
fers from considerable gaps, par- etary boundaries and whether our The water sector does not fare
ticularly for larger units such as current consumption patterns are much better in public perception.
transboundary shared river basins crossing irreversible thresholds Many view engagement of the
or aquifers. Water and related (Rockstrom et al., 2009). Whether private sector as a recipe for un-
data are often characterized as one agrees fully with these global bridled exploitation and depletion
state secrets and guarded as such. expert assessments or not, it is ap- of water resources. In the Cana-
This unavailability and limited parent that consumption patterns dian context, many are concerned
access to data translates directly or and consumer behaviours need a about the potential transport of
indirectly into the challenges out- major re-think to achieve sustain- water resources by the shiploads
lined in terms of knowledge gaps able economic and industrial de- by the private sector to other
presented in earlier sections. velopment. A dialogue around the countries (Barlow, 2001).

Fig. 4. View of a coal plant. that the United Nations General the energy sector lobbies exert
Mpumalanga, South Africa. Assembly has now declared water considerable influence over politi-
© UN Photo/Gill Fickling. as a human right, and hence, it cians and policymakers –being
should be available to everyone driven by large-scale elements of
free of cost. Those aiming to sup- the national economies. The same
As a consequence of pre-existing port the Water-Energy Nexus in is often not true of the water sec-
and persistent notions of malfea- the public-opinion space thus face tor, which is in contrast hampered
sance on part of the private sec- an uphill battle for gaining the by over-legislation or regulations.
tor, there is a significant risk that trust and favour of a suspicious Nonetheless, proponents of the
the Water-Energy Nexus may be audience. Water-Energy Nexus have to pay
viewed as a further collusion to 4. Risk – Lobbies Over-riding Public considerable attention to how
deprive the general public of its Interests: The concerns outlined abusive lobbying may be pre-
wellbeing. This notion is further in Section 3 may become a reality vented and its potential negative
exacerbated by the misconception in some countries. In most cases, impacts minimized.

Recommendations for the Way Forward

1. Exploring New Modalities for agement and resource planning. 2. Creating Cross-Scale Policy Instru-
Partnerships: Mitigating some of Notions of social equity can be ments: New policy instruments
the risks outlined in the previ- instrumental in the formulation that cut across traditional geo-
ous section would require newer of these partnerships, particularly graphical and sectorial boundaries
forms of collaboration between when framed in the context of may facilitate early adoption of the
the scientific community, gov- poverty reduction and social em- Nexus concept. Bringing together
ernments, the private sector, and powerment. water and energy ministries,
the civil society. It is essential to Such partnerships can empower the other than in the context of hy-
build coalitions that bring to- research community to offer evi- dropower generation and manage-
gether traditionally antagonistic dence-based solutions that address ment, may require creation of apex
entities to sit across the table. the knowledge gaps described earlier level bodies within governments;
The “newness” of the Water- in the paper. Effective warehousing e.g., at the ministerial level. Many
Energy Nexus can be presented and dissemination of this knowl- examples exist, in Thailand and Ja-
as the argument for creating a edge would also need to be a central pan for instance, in which creation
new narrative around joint man- element of these new partnerships. of apex bodies allows for develop-

30 2 - 2014
ment of more effective policymak- portunity for re-shaping the future
ing apparatus around environmen- of national development planning.
tal issues (Adeel, 2003). By linking together some of the
A new discourse may need to be targets underlying the SDGs, it is
started in transboundary situations possible to mobilize the resources
in which water and energy must for jointly addressing water and
be shared across national, or some- energy problems in both devel-
times sub national, borders. Tradi- oped and developing countries
tional water sharing platforms, like (UNU and UNOSD, 2013).
conventions, treaties, and commis- Creation of dynamic, interlinked
sions, are focused exclusively on models can enable rational analysis
water management and often ex- of development scenarios.
clude energy. Prior examples sug-
gest that combined management of
these resources can actually open
up new vistas for cooperation. Dr. Zafar Adeel
3. Connecting with the Post-2015 De- PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Director, United Nations University Institute
velopment Agenda: Formulation of for Water, Environment and Health
the SDGs offers an interesting op- Hamilton, Canada

– ADB, 2013. Thinking about water differently: – Hoffman, A.R., 2001, The Connection: Water Sup- ment Agenda. United Nations University Insti-
Managing the water–food–energy Nexus, ply and Energy Reserves, US Department of En- tute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-
Asian Development Bank (ADB), Mandaluyong ergy, Washington DC, United States of America. INWEH), UN Office of Sustainable Develop-
City, Philippines. – Kumar, M.D., 2005, Impact of electricity prices ment (UNOSD), and Stockholm Environment
– Adeel, Z. (Ed.), 2003. East Asian Experiences in En- and volumetric water allocation on energy and Institute (SEI). UNU-INWEH, Hamilton, Canada.
vironmental Governance: Response in a Rapidly groundwater demand management: analysis – UN-Water, 2011. Water in a Green Economy,
Developing Region, UNU Press, Tokyo, Japan. from Western India, Energy Policy 33, 39–51. A Statement by UN-Water for the UN Con-
– Baghel, R. and Nüsser, M., 2010. Discussing – Mills, E., 2005. Insurance in a Climate of Change, ference on Sustainable Development 2012
large dams in Asia after the World Commission Science Vol. 309 no. 5737 pp. 1040-1044. (Rio+20 Summit), http://www.uncsd2012.
on Dams: Is a political ecology approach the – Rockstrom, J., W. Steffen, K. Noone, A. Persson, F. org/content/documents/303UN-Water%20
way forward? Water Alternatives 3(2): 231-248. S. Chapin, III, E. Lambin, T. M. Lenton, M. Schef- Rio20%20Statement%201%20NOV.2011.pdf/.
– Barlow, M., 2001. Blue Gold: The global water fer, C. Folke, H. Schellnhuber, B. Nykvist, C. A. – UNW-DPAC, 2014, Water and Energy Reader, UN-
crisis and the commodification of the world’s De Wit, T. Hughes, S. van der Leeuw, H. Rodhe, Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and
water supply, A Special Report issued by the S. Sorlin, P. K. Snyder, R. Costanza, U. Svedin, M. Communication (UNW-DPAC), Zaragoza, Spain.
International Forum on Globalization (IFG), Falkenmark, L. Karlberg, R. W. Corell, V. J. Fabry, – WBCSD, 2002. Toward a Sustainable Cement
San Francisco, United States of America. J. Hansen, B. Walker, D. Liverman, K. Richardson, Industry, Battelle Memorial Institute, Colum-
– Bizikova, L., D. Roy, D. Swanson, H.D. Venema P. Crutzen, and J. Foley, 2009. Planetary bound- bus OH, United States of America.
and M. McCandless, 2013. The Water–Ener- aries: exploring the safe operating space for – WEF, 2011. Global Risks 2011, 6th Edition.
gy–Food Security Nexus: Towards a practical humanity. Ecology and Society 14(2): 32. World Economic Forum, Geneva, Switzerland.
planning and decision-support framework for – Sandhu, H., U. Nidumolu, and S. Sandhu, 2012. – Wüstenhagen, R., M. Wolsink, M.J. Bürer,
landscape investment and risk management, Assessing Risks and Opportunities Arising 2007. Social acceptance of renewable energy
the International Institute for Sustainable De- from Ecosystem Change in Primary Industries innovation: An introduction to the concept,
velopment, Winnipeg, Canada. Using Ecosystem-Based Business Risk Analysis Energy Policy 35, 2683–2691.
– Gleick, P.H., 2014, The Syrian Conflict and the Tool, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An – WWAP (United Nations World Water Assess-
Role of Water, in The World’s Water, Volume 8, International Journal, 18:1, 47-68. ment Programme), 2012. The United Nations
Island Press, Washington DC, United States – Sumner, A., 2010. Global Poverty and the New World Water Development Report 4: Manag-
of America. Bottom Billion: What if Three-quarters of the ing Water under Uncertainty and Risk, UNES-
– Hoff, H., 2011. Understanding the Nexus, Back- World’s Poor Live in Middle-income Countries? CO, Paris, France.
ground Paper for the Bonn 2011 Conference: IDS Working Paper 349, the Institute of Devel- – WWAP (United Nations World Water Assess-
The Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus. opment Studies, Brighton, United Kingdom. ment Programme), 2014. The United Nations
Stockholm Environment Institute, Stock- – UNU and UNOSD, 2013. Water for Sustainability: World Water Development Report 2014: Water
holm, Sweden. Framing Water within the Post-2015 Develop- and Energy. UNESCO, Paris, France.

and developments
in water and energy efficiency:
role of the United Nations Industrial
Development Organization (UNIDO)
Christian Susan and John G. Payne

Green Industry

The designations employed, descriptions and classifica- BACKGROUND TO THE FUTURE

tions of countries, and the presentation of the mate-

rial in this report do not imply the expression of any
opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the n the ongoing process to define the Post-2015 devel-
United Nations Industrial Development Organization opment agenda and agree on Sustainable Develop-
(UNIDO) concerning the legal status of any country, ment Goals (SDGs), the international community
territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concern- finds itself at a critical juncture. Poverty is still the
ing the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries, or its central challenge of our world: the SDGs, currently being
economic system or degree of development. The views formulated to succeed the UN Millennium Development
expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect the Goals (MDGs), must succeed in addressing this challenge.
views of the Secretariat of the UNIDO. The responsibil- Over the past three decades many countries have
ity for opinions expressed rests solely with the authors, reached higher development levels in all dimensions –
and publication does not constitute an endorsement economic, social and environmental– for the benefit of
by UNIDO. Although great care has been taken to their people. Analyzing the drivers for this trend demon-
maintain the accuracy of information herein, neither strates that countries with steady economic growth, driv-
UNIDO nor its member States assume any responsibil- en by industrialization, international trade and related
ity for consequences, which may arise from the use of services have managed to reduce poverty most effectively.
the material. Terms such as “developed”, “industrialized” In fact, there is not a single country in the world that has
and “developing” are intended for statistical conve- reached a high stage of economic and social development
nience and do not necessarily express a judgment. Any without having developed an advanced industrial sector
indication of, or reference to, a country, institution or (UNIDO, 2014a).
other legal entity does not constitute an endorsement. This observation has been recognized by the UN
Information contained herein may be freely quoted or General Assembly’s Open Working Group on the
reprinted but acknowledgement is requested. This report SDGs, which considers structural transformation
has been produced without formal United Nations editing. through industrialization to be a key driver of growth in

32 2 - 2014
productivity, employment creation, was selected as one of the Focus Ar- Fig. 1. An important natural resource,
improved living standards, econom- eas for further consideration in the seabuckthorn is used for the prevention
ic diversification and technological framing of the SDGs and Post-2015 of soil erosion and the production of
upgrading. Thus, industrialization development agenda. food and medicine. Uvs, Mongolia.
© UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.

Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development

UNIDO will contribute to the The pursuit of ISID includes

Post-2015 development agenda by several key elements such as creat-
promoting Inclusive and Sustain- ing shared prosperity by promoting
able Industrial Development (ISID) decent employment opportunities,
(UNIDO, 2014a) to harness the full particularly for women and youth,
potential of industry’s contribution such producing a multiplier effect
to the achievement of sustainable for households (UNIDO, 2014a).
development, and lasting prosperity Working conditions are improved by
for all. This new vision, as enshrined involvement in international trade
in UNIDO’s landmark Lima Decla- which requires compliance to stan-
ration (UNIDO, 2013) adopted by dards and gives exposure to new tech-
the organization’s member states on nologies. Measures to safeguard the
December 2, 2013, will shape the environment are promoted through
future operations, spirit and direction innovation and process optimization
of UNIDO for many years to come. towards cleaner production, waste re-

duction, chemicals management and ments have become the driving forces Fig. 2. This photo was part of
less pollution. Renewable energies for the promotion of more competi- an exhibition with pictures
and energy efficiency are targeted, as tive and environmentally sustainable of people who depend on the Mau
energy represents a significant cost, production – “Green Industry” - Forest, one of the largest reservoirs
affects competitiveness and impacts rather than a choice between indus- in the country. Anabkoi, Kenya.
climate change. Overall, these ele- trial growth and sustainability. © UN Photo/Riccardo Gangale.

Green Industry

In keeping with its mandate, growth from increased resource high-level Green Industry Platform
UNIDO “coined the concept Green consumption and pollution, which is (UNIDO, n.d.b) was launched as a
Industry, to place industrial devel- essential in satisfying the needs of a vehicle to scale up and mainstream
opment in the context of global growing global population in light of Green Industry policies and prac-
sustainable development challenges” our planet’s finite resources. Further- tices throughout global manufactur-
(UNIDO, n.d.a). The Green In- more, it will allow societies to reap ing. The Platform serves to catalyze
dustry Initiative provides a core the full benefits of economic develop- action by bringing together govern-
component of ISID by ensuring that ment without detrimental social and ment, business and civil society
industrial production and develop- environmental impacts. leaders around a set of core engage-
ment, while remaining economically The momentum surrounding ments. Since the launch of the Plat-
viable, does not come at the expense the Green Industry Initiative was form, it has reached 193 members
of ecosystem health or produce carried forward to the UN Con- including 30 governments, 96 busi-
adverse human health impacts. It ference on Sustainable Develop- nesses and 68 international business
thereby helps to decouple economic ment (Rio+20) in 2012, where the and civil society organizations.

34 2 - 2014
Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP)

Resource Efficient Cleaner Production n.d.c). Water and energy figure promi- n.d.d). Their work promotes pollution
(RECP) lies at the heart of the Green nently, being key and fundamental prevention in production, emphasiz-
Industry Initiative. RECP promotes inputs into any industrial process. ing its short- and long-term economic
the efficient use of natural resources UNIDO, in collaboration with UNEP, gains, and includes the transfer of
(raw material, energy and water), and established National Cleaner Produc- environmentally sound technologies
the minimization of wastes, such as ef- tion Centres (NCPCs) that execute related to water and energy as well as
fluents discharged to water (UNIDO, projects in various countries (UNIDO, raw material (Chart 1).

Water-Energy Perspective Chart 1

National Cleaner Production Centres NCPCs
The focus of the 2014 World Water Selected Achievements
Development Report (WWAP,
2014) is on water and energy. It Kenya Peru Sri Lanka
states that demand for both fresh- Chandaria Industries Ltd. Metalexacto – Small lead foundry Rathkerewwa Desiccated Coconut Mill
water and energy will continue
• Paper and tissue products • Reduced lead content in waste by 19% • Decreased waste output by 18 tons
to increase significantly over the
• Programme to increase waste water recovery &
coming decades to meet the needs of recycling
• nabled recovery of nearly 350 tons lead p.a. • Achieved considerable reductions in water & energy
growing populations and economies, Achieved: • Decreased water & energy consumption
• GHG emissions reduced by almost 1,000 tons p.a.
changing lifestyles and evolving • 25% reduction in energy consumption • Total GHG emissions reduced by 270 tons p.a.
consumption patterns. • 50% reduction in water consumption • Annual savings > $315,000 from an investment
• Investment costs low & recovered within months
Industry accounts for approxi- • 60% reduction of waste & waste water <$17,000
mately 37% of primary global en- • Annual savings > $600,000 with negligible total
ergy use (UNIDO, 2008). Global investment
Source: UNIDO, n.d.i.
energy demand is expected to grow
by more than one-third over the
period to 2035, with China, India ing, it is clear that the efficient and situations (WWAP, 2014). Meeting
and the Middle Eastern countries effective use of this limited resource the future challenges will require
accounting for about 60% of the in industrial processes will become concerted actions allowing all stake-
increase. Electricity demand glob- of utmost importance if present and holders and development partners to
ally is expected to grow more than future generations are to benefit from make the best possible use of their
70% by 2035 mainly in non-OECD sustainable development. In meet- individual strengths and comparative
countries, with half of this growth in ing this demand, the strong global advantages. UNIDO will continue to
India and China (IEA, 2012). It has Nexus between water and energy contribute to this process by further
been estimated that, by using proven must be taken into account to mini- promoting ISID.
technology, manufacturing industry mize trade-offs. Energy consump-
can improve its energy efficiency by tion is a main driver behind climate
18 to 26% and reduce its CO2 emis- change, which, in turn, affects water
sions by 19 to 32% (IEA, 2007) resources, and huge amounts of
In terms of world water with- water are used in the generation of
drawals, industry uses about 19% electricity. This relationship between
(FAO, Aquastat, n.d.). Global water water and energy is likely to become
demand (withdrawals) is projected tighter against the background of
to increase by some 55% by 2050, climate change and efforts involving
mainly because of growing demand its mitigation and adaptation.
from manufacturing (400%), thermal Meeting growing water and
electricity generation (140%) and energy demands will be the challenge
domestic use (130%) (OECD, 2012). for the future and increased levels of
With the projected increase in collaboration and coordination will
demand for water in manufactur- create positive outcomes in nearly all

Developing countries have increased by developing countries and countries
nearly double their share of manufac- with economies in transition, UNIDO
turing value-added from 18% in 1992 is dedicated to tackling the challenges
to 35% in 2012 (UNIDO, 2014a). of industrial growth and to develop
With a mandate to promote ISID in and execute the required responses.

Shared Challenges of Water and Energy

While there are specific challenges technologies takes much time

to water and to energy, there are also and investment and many good
shared or common challenges to ef- ideas fail along the way. Investors
ficiency in both domains. These chal- and venture capital sources want
lenges are at the economic and human returns within certain timeframes
interfaces and primarily include: or they will look elsewhere to
• Technology Implementation: There place their funds. Moreover in-
is a wealth of new ideas and in- dustry needs reassurance about
novations for the more productive the effectiveness and reliability of
use of water and its improved technology. It is naturally sceptical
treatment, as well as for energy to invest in untried innovations
efficiency and generating power without a track record, yet more
from renewable energy sources. than two thirds of the growth in
The difficulties are purchasing and developing countries results from
installation costs, and getting in- catching up on technology (UNI-
novative ideas to the market and DO, 2014a).
implemented. Incubating new • Governance and Policy: Robust,
thoughtful and sound policy will
lie at the centre of enabling ISID, regulation (through Greenhouse
with different approaches for indi- Gas (GHG) and Carbon Capture
vidual countries. Long-term strat- (CC) requirements driving effi-
egies are needed to help ensure ciency) affects manufacturing more
stable economic and political envi- indirectly than water regulation,
ronments and create incentives to which is usually targeted directly at
invest in the necessary solutions. It the amount and quality of effluents
is important to ensure institutional and discharges. Yet water regula-
strengthening of the government tion, amongst others, has an influ-
ministries in charge of water and ence on hydropower development.
energy policy and this is a promi- • Finance: The ability to secure
nent goal in UNIDO projects. investment for water, renewable
Moreover, there is a strong call for energy and energy efficiency is a
coordinated approaches by deci- function of investment priorities.
sion makers involved in water and There are competing needs for
energy policy (WWAP, 2014). outside investment funds and for
Based on policy, well-crafted laws company budgets to invest inter-
and regulations combined with nally. Good business cases must
compliance and enforcement are be made to show the short and
necessary to push industrialization long term investments, payback
in the desired directions. The regu- periods, cost-benefits and measures
lations must be clear and based on needed to increase production (as
the latest sound science. Energy water and conventional energy are

36 2 - 2014
inexpensive in places). Inadequate same is true for industry which Fig. 3. Tebikenikora,
legislation may make it cheaper can often be oblivious to the needs a town on the Pacific island nation
to keep paying the fines than to of others and assume supplies of of Kiribati, affected by climate
address a pollution problem. Fre- water and energy will always be change in low-lying lands.
quently progress comes down to available. Though difficult it is Tebikenikora, Kiribati.
navigating trade-offs. essential to penetrate these barriers © UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.
• Partnerships: To leverage the advan- to gain visibility and make collec-
tages of ISID, partnerships, knowl- tive, beneficial decisions.
edge exchange and networking are • Climate Change: Repercussions
essential. They must occur at all from climate change have affected
levels between industry and the energy use in industry for some
private sector, government, civil time, such as decreasing carbon
society, academia, intergovern- footprints by reducing GHG emis- on GHG targets is increasing and
mental organizations and NGOs. sions achieved through energy will rest more and more on indus-
International partnerships facilitate efficiency and renewable energy try, power generators and others.
access to a variety of resources and efforts. Using less energy and wa- An adequate water supply is im-
expertise. Building partnerships ter reduces energy demand, which portant to industry and is increas-
is challenging, especially between in turn decreases the production ingly uncertain due to the effects
water and energy stakeholders, of GHGs through electricity gen- of climate change. Industry may
where there are vested interests eration from fossil fuels. Industry be forced to relocate from present-
and separate agendas. Business-as- may emit GHGs directly if it gen- ly industrialized countries to those
usual results in “institutional lock- erates its own power or from its that are less industrialized but have
in” despite the disadvantages. The production processes. The pressure better water supplies.

Water – Frequent Challenges

Growth in consumer demand for ing total water withdrawals and Effluent discharges are infamous
goods is increasing with population consuming less. In developed for polluting water bodies. Indus-
growth, which is occurring especially countries, where the price of water trial contamination is often more
quickly in non-OECD countries. As has traditionally been low, there is toxic and harder to treat than
it increases its production to meet little incentive to conserve. This more common pollutants and
this demand, industry will need more is changing and will likely lead to can persist in the environment.
water. To reduce stress on limited increasing motivation for industry Industrial effluents are doubly
fresh water supplies and ensure an to use water more wisely and im- damaging because the contamina-
adequate water supply, industry will prove water productivity. This will tion can affect the environment
have to improve its water productivity also extend up industrial supply and human health and, by pol-
(value of product for each unit of wa- chains where, in most cases, indus- luting source waters, also reduce
ter used) in order to keep pace with try’s supply chain water footprint the quantity of good quality water
growing demand for goods and, at is much larger than its operational available or mean that it has to be
the same time, reduce its discharges. one (Hoekstra et al., 2011). treated (more energy use) before it
In the water domain, the frequent • Quality – matching use, reducing can be used again.
challenges are persistent but accentu- effluents: Industry does not need • Availability – scarcity and allocation:
ated in some countries, particularly water of a consistently potable security and disputes: Even in a loca-
developing ones. quality to conduct many of its tion where sufficient water is avail-
• Quantity – the exact figure: In fac- manufacturing processes. However able, competing demands for its use
ing the increasing demands on if it relies on municipal supply, may result in allocation for specific
freshwater resources, industry is this is what is delivered. users. In China, India and Indone-
challenged to find ways of reduc- If industry uses surface water or sia lack of water is already a major
groundwater, it may be using constraint to industrial growth (Pa-
good quality resources more suit- cific Institute, 2007). It is easy to
Fig. 4. Mother and son able for human consumption. In foresee how water availability issues
carry jerry cans to collect water. a few cases, industry requires high can escalate to water security (reli-
Khor Abeche, Sudan. water quality and has to rely on able and safe supply) disputes, par-
© UN Photo/Albert González Farran. in-house treatment. ticularly of a transboundary nature.
In developing countries, population
growth and the demand for prod-
ucts by a growing middle class are
big water demand drivers. One of
the biggest challenges for ISID is to
bring the prosperity of industrial-
ization while also managing water
resources that become increasingly
challenged by the externalities, such
as increasing population, which
this prosperity creates. In countries
where water is scarce it must be
given priority as basic human right:
improved water supply is essential
to overcoming poverty.
• Pricing – what’s fair and what’s
right: Pricing water is a very dif-
ficult issue. Industry’s historical
background sees water as essen-
tially free with the corollary that
efficient use is neglected. The
wide variation in water prices is
influenced by subsidies that often

38 2 - 2014
result in a lower price than the water as a basic human right and
actual cost to pump, treat and de- how this can be properly accom-
liver the water. The trend for in- modated. This relates directly to
creasing water prices to reflect the poverty and, particularly in areas
actual cost is likely to stimulate of scarcity and developing coun-
conservation and efficiency. The tries, basic water supplies need to
other side of this issue concerns be affordable or free.

Energy – Broader Challenges

Energy has a larger economic dimen- there is a relationship to poverty:

sion than water: it is bigger business it is well-known that more people
and its challenges, such as access and lack access to electricity and clean
price, are more widespread. More- cooking energy than water and the
over, energy generation and use is challenge is to balance their needs
strongly influenced by GHG reduc- equitably with those of others.
tion and climate policies driven by • Price - Volatility: For industry vola-
laws and regulations which often tility in energy prices is more of Fig. 5. Afforestation Project.
promote energy efficiency. In indus- a problem than the availability of Lima, Peru. © UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.
try, energy has a direct connection energy. This affects energy inten-
to water: it is needed to pump, treat, sive industries and may drive relo-
heat and cool water. Yet, it is also cation. However, in major fossil-
non dependant on water when it is fuel producing countries, such as creased competiveness and reduced
used to drive machinery, heat or cool Russia, where local energy is cheap environmental impact. However,
plants and transport goods. As with there is little incentive to reduce a number of obstacles need to be
water, there can be ripple effects up energy use (UNIDO, 2010). overcome to increase its market, in-
the supply chain of companies and • Renewables – Integration: Renew- cluding high risk perception, lack of
their energy use. able energy has the potential to technical know-how, and the need
The challenges facing the energy strengthen energy systems and trig- for financing to facilitate its integra-
sector that spin off to industry are ger technological innovation for in- tion into the existing energy mix.
broader than those related to water,
in that water issues are frequently
limited to watersheds whereas en-
ergy has no such limitations.
• Security – Access: Industry needs
a constant and reliable energy
supply. Energy security is com-
prises its access as well as its supply
(WEF, 2012). There are obvious
supply risks with fuels, such as coal
and oil, but increasingly water may
be a bigger risk, as in the well-
known cases in the US, France
and India where power generation
was stopped for lack of sufficient
cooling water. Moreover, access
to power depends on transmission
and distribution systems, which
frequently cross regional and in-
ternational boundaries often with
inherent risks as a result. Again

UNIDO, in delivering its mandate
in the context of ISID, has devel-
oped and implemented responses by
sector and geographically in develop-
ing and transition countries. The focus
is mainly on small- and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs) to improve their
competitiveness and market access by
simple and practical approaches to
meet productivity and environmental
requirements (UNIDO, n.d.a). The
projects are frequently at the plant or Fig. 6. Techniques of Cleaner Production. Source: UNIDO, n.d.j.
factory level in collaboration with local
government institutions to produce
enabling environments. This is primar- MED-TEST
ily achieved by targeting cleaner and MED TEST is a UNIDO green industry initiative supported by the GEF, the Italian Government and the “Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean Large Marine Ecosystem
(LME)1” of UNEP-MAP. The program addresses land-based sources of pollution within priority industrial hot spots of the Mediterranean Strategic Action Plan (SAP-MED). A pool
sustainable production and water man- of 43 manufacturing sites, mostly SMEs, across 7 industrial sectors in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia actively participated in MED TEST during 2010-2011.
agement through RECP techniques.
Cleaner production addresses produc- A total of 765 measures were identified; 76% were implemented, 14% retained for further technical and economical investigations and only 10% discarded. About 54% of the
measures have a return on investment of less than 6 months. In the three countries, the project identified total annual savings of about $17 M in energy, water, raw materials
tion efficiency, environmental manage- and increased productivity corresponding to a portfolio of around $20 M of private sector investments in improved processes and cleaner technology which do not include
ment and human development, with end-of-pipe solutions.
techniques shown in Figure 6.

Water Efficiency at Work

Broadly, UNIDO focuses on reduc-

ing water consumption, increasing
water productivity, and protecting
water resources from discharges. The
related measures include improv-
ing water-use efficiency, extending
wastewater treatment, water recy-
cling and reuse, enhancing effective
water governance including catch-
ment area based integrated water
resources management (IWRM) and
transboundary co-operation. The
main vehicle for these initiatives is
UNIDO’s Transfer of Environmen-
tally Sound Technologies (TEST)
Programme, which has been suc-
cessfully implemented in a number
of countries (Figure 7).
The TEST integrated approach
(UNIDO, n.d.e) has three areas of
• Process Level. Pollution prevention
rather than pollution control (end-
of-pipe) solutions. Fig. 7. MED-TEST. Source: UNIDO, 2012.

40 2 - 2014
TEST – Management Tools
• Resource Efficiency & Cleaner Production • Environmental Management Systems • Environmental Management Accounting • Environmentally Sound Technologies • Corporate Social Responsibility
Source: UNIDO, 2014b.

• Management Systems. Preventive sibilities (CSR) and sustainable Fig. 8. Implementation

environmental management using enterprise strategies (SES). Workflow in a company.
an information system on relevant The TEST integrated approach Source: UNIDO, 2012.
material, energy, water and related has five management tools (Figure 8)
financial flows necessary for linking aimed at changing practices in a com-
the strategic and operational levels. prehensive way to ensure adoption of
• Strategic Level. Environmental and environmental practices and initiation
corporate social business respon- of a continuous improvement process.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Action

Energy-intensive SMEs currently An example relating to the Water- Development Report 2013 (WSH-
using electricity generated from fossil Energy Nexus is the promotion of PDR 2013) and knowledge platform.
fuels are being encouraged to move small hydro-power (SHP) generation It contains compiled data on installed
to renewable energy for environmen- which has little or no environmental capacity and potential of SHP for 149
tal reasons, to increase productivity, impact (UNIDO, n.d.g). UNIDO’s countries and 20 regions.
and prepare them to handle unreli- goal for the development of SHP is to In its industrial energy effi-
able supplies from national grids. At provide energy access for productive ciency and climate change activities,
national and regional planning and uses and industrial applications, espe- UNIDO targets energy efficient
decision making levels, UNIDO cially in rural areas. SHP has proven operational practices over and above
assists with strategy on renewables, to be a suitable renewable energy tech- energy efficient equipment. Produc-
including technology and financial nology in the context of rural electri- tion systems change during a facil-
schemes, with three prongs (UNI- fication efforts, energy diversification ity’s life and the energy systems may
DO, n.d.f). and industrial development. In regions become less efficient. Simply having
• Mainstream the use of renewable with hydropower potential, this is very energy-efficient components does not
energy in SMEs. cost effective and can supply motive ensure energy savings within a system.
• Support innovative business mod- power to small industry. In 2013, Evidence from programmes indicates
els to promote renewable energy as UNIDO, in cooperation with the that such components may result in
a business sector. International Centre on Small Hydro about 2% to 5% gains in efficiency,
• Create business development op- Power (ICSHP), based in China, whereas systems optimization can
portunities through increasing ac- launched the first global assessment on produce 20% to 30% with short pay-
cess to energy. SHP, the World Small Hydropower back periods (UNIDO, n.d.h).

Fig. 6. Geothermal energy
is converted into electricity
and used to heat green houses.
Taupo, New Zealand. The world is undergoing a new tainable industrialization. It is widely
© UN Photo/Evan Schneider. industrial revolution (UNIDO, accepted that industrialization is a
2014a), ranging from changes in development priority: therefore the
developed countries using high task ahead is to determine how this
technology and knowledge based will be achieved to blend with reach-
initiatives, to those in transition and ing the SDGs and prosperity for all.
developing economies defined by
structural change towards prosperity.
The question is not choosing between
industrialization and sustainability, Christian Susan
but how to transform industry and M.Sc. (Industrial Development Officer, UNIDO
business, using the right approaches Water Management Unit)

and technology, to resolve environ- John G. Payne

mental challenges and achieve sus- B.A., M.Sc., D.I.C., M.Sc., (UNIDO Consultant)

42 2 - 2014
– FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of – ----. 2014b, UNIDO-Industry Partnerships. Pre- – ----. n.d.e. Transfer of Environmentally Sound
the United Nations). n.d. AQUASTAT database. sentation by I. Volodin, 2014 UN-Water Annual Technologies (TEST).
Rome, FAO. International Zaragoza Conference. Preparing en/what-we-do/environment/resource-effi-
aquastat/water_use/index.stm/. for World Water Day 2014: Partnerships for cient-and-low-carbon-industrial-production/
– Hoekstra, A. Y., Chapagain, A. K., Aldaya, M.M. improving water and energy access, efficiency watermanagement/test.html/.
and Mekonnen, M.M.. 2011. The Water Foot- and sustainability. 13-16 January 2014. http:// – ----. n.d.f. Renewable Energy. http://www.
print Assessment manual: Setting the global
standard, Earthscan, London, UK. http://www. energy_2014/presentations.shtml/. ergy-access-for-productive-uses/renewable- – ----. 2013. The Lima Declaration. http://www. energy.html/.
FootprintAssessmentManual.pdf/. – ----. n.d.g. Small hydro-power. http://www.
– IEA (International Energy Agency). 2012. World Media_center/2013/News/GC15/UNIDO_
Energy Outlook 2012. Paris, OECD/IEA. GC15_Lima_Declaration.pdf/. ergy-access-for-productive-uses/renewable-
– ----. 2007. Tracking Industrial Energy Efficiency – ----. 2012. MED TEST, Transfer of Environmental energy/focus-areas/small-hydro-power.html/.
and CO2 Emissions. IEA Publications. Paris. Sound Technology in the South Mediterranean – ----. n.d.h. Industrial energy system optimiza- Region: Project Summary and Achievements. tion.
tions/publication/tracking_emissions.pdf/. environment/energy-access-for-productive-
– OECD (Organization for Economic Co-opera- dia/Services/Environmental_Management/ uses/industrial-energy-efficiency/focus-areas/
tion and Development). 2012. Environmental Water_Management/Carolina/MEDTEST_%20 industrial-energy-system-optimization.html/.
Outlook to 2050: Key Findings on Water. Paris, Brochure_%20English.PDF/. – ----. n.d.i. Principal Achievements. http://www.
OECD. – ----. 2010. Global Industrial Energy Efficiency
dicators-modelling-outlooks/49844953.pdf/. Benchmarking: An Energy Policy Tool. Working nerships-and-networks/networks-centres-fo-
– Pacific Institute. 2007. At the Crest of a Wave: A Paper. Vienna, UNIDO. rums-and-platforms/ncpc/principal-achieve-
Proactive Approach to Corporate Water Strat- fileadmin/user_media/Services/Energy_and_ ments.html/.
egy. Oakland, Calif., Pacific Institute. http:// Climate_Change/Energy_Efficiency/Bench- – ----. n.d.j Cleaner Production. http://www. marking_%20Energy_%20Policy_Tool.pdf/.
– UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Develop- – ----. n.d.a. Green Industry Initiative. http:// resource-efficient-and-low-carbon-industrial-
ment Organization). 2008. Policies for Promot- production/cp/cleaner-production.html/.
ing Industrial Energy Efficiency in Developing ment/resource-efficient-and-low-carbon- – WEF (World Economic Forum). 2012. The
Countries and Transition Economies: Execu- industrial-production/greenindustry/green- Global Energy Architecture Performance Index
tive Summary. Vienna, UNIDO. http://www. industry-initiative.html/. Report 2013: Industry Agenda. Geneva, WEF – ----. n.d.b. Green Industry Platform. http:// in collaboration with Accenture. http://www.
Ebookv2.pdf/. – ----. n.d.c. Resource Efficient and Cleaner Pro- ture-performance-index-report-2013/.
– ----. 2014a. Inclusive and Sustainable Indus- duction. – WWAP (United Nations World Water Assess-
trial Development: Creating shared prosper- do/environment/resource-efficient-and-low- ment Programme). 2014. The United Nations
ity | Safeguarding the environment. Vienna, carbon-industrial-production/cp/resource- World Water Development Report 2014: Wa-
UNIDO. efficient-and-cleaner-production.html/. ter and Energy. Paris, UNESCO. http://www.
er_media_upgrade/Who_we_are/Structure/ – ----. n.d.d. The National Cleaner Production
Director-General/ISID_Brochure_web_single- Centres (NCPCs) Network. http://www.unido. ronment/water/wwap/wwdr/2014-water-
sided_12_03.pdf/. org/ncpc.html/. and-energy/.

Promoting policy
on the water and energy nexus
across borders
Annukka Lipponen1 y Mark Howells

transboundary cooperation
Water Convention
intersectoral coordination

Human challenge – development in a finite world

opulation growth, economic development, The provision of water-services, energy-services and
increased water, energy and food needs all exert food are provided through chains of physical activity. These
increasing pressures on natural resources –as chains include the use of technology, artificial and natural
noted by (Bazilian et al., 2011): infrastructure. Those in turn rely on primary supplies of
• All three areas have many billions of people without ac- land, energy and water resources. Of special importance is
cess (quantity or quality or both). natural infrastructure. That includes ecosystems.
• All have rapidly growing global demand. Those resources, chains of activity and services are inexo-
• All have resource constraints. rably interlinked. Selected linkages are noted in Chart 1.2
• All are “global goods” and involve international trade Further, those interlinkages are significant. To give a
and have global implications. sense of scale, (UN, 2014) notes that “at a global level, 7
• All have different regional availability and variations in per cent of commercial energy production is used for man-
supply and demand. aging the worlds freshwater supply, including for extrac-
• All have strong interdependencies with climate change tion, purification, distribution, treatment and recycling.
and the environment. About 70 per cent of human water use is for irrigation and
• All have deep security issues as they are fundamental to 22 per cent is for industry, most of which is for thermal
the functioning of society. cooling in power plants and manufacturing. Roughly 4 per
• All operate in heavily regulated markets. cent of final energy use is in agriculture, food processing
• All require the explicit identification and treatment of and transportation adding an increasing additional energy
risks. amount. About half demand increase for maize and wheat

44 2 - 2014
Chart 1
Selected Nexus linkages
Impacts of the issues
Climate Land/Food Energy Water
below on those listed on top

Climate change and extreme weather affect crop pro- Climate change alters energy needs for cooling & heat- Climate change alters water availability and the
ductivity and increase water demand in most cases. ing and impacts the hydropower potential. frequency of droughts and floods.

Energy is needed for water pumping, fertiliser and

Greenhouse gas emissions from land use change (veg- Increased water demand due to intensification of
Land/Food pesticide production, agricultural machinery and
etation and “soil carbon”) and fertiliser production. agriculture, and effects on the N/P cycles.
food transport.

Changes in river flow, evaporation in hydropower

Fuel combustion leads to GHG emissions and air Land use for biofuels and renewable energy tech. (so-
Energy dams, biofuels crop irrigation, fossil fuel extraction (esp.
pollution. lar, wind, hydro, ocean), crip/oil price correlation.

Water availability for biofuels, energy use for

Changes in water availability for agriculture and grow-
Water Changes in hydrological cycles affect local climates. desalination but also storage of renewable energy
ing competition for it affect food production.
as fresh water.

Source (UN, 2014).

has been due to bio fuel produc- societies live in conditions of abun- the largest share of their income- on
tion. Energy use for desalination and dance of resources. The current, com- basic needs in the form of water, food
pumping for irrigation constitutes monly uncoordinated and often non- and electricity.
a large share of energy use in some coherent, policies to support food, Looking at the interlinkages
developing countries.” water and energy security have often between water and energy in pan-
Further, sectoral management had adverse consequences tending to Europe and North America demon-
framework only functions and sup- disproportionately affect the poor, strates the importance of taking them
ports development as long as human as they depend the most -and spend into account in policy development.

Targeted challenges -
Energy and water challenges in the UNECE region
While the challenges at the interface in variability of flows. One specific by highly energy intensive methods
of water and energy differ across the driver increasing development of (e.g. desalination), especially where
United Nations Economic Commis- renewable energy sources, including water scarcity prevails.
sion for Europe (UNECE) region,3 hydropower, is the energy policy. The WWDR also illustrates the
a few major issues are highlighted in Renewable Energy Directive4 lays vulnerability of energy generation
the Fifth World Water Development down legally binding targets; notably, to changing weather and climatic
Report (WWDR) (UN-WWAP, a 20% share of renewable energy in conditions: Cooling water scarcity
2014), “Water and Energy”. the EU by 2020. during recent warm, dry summers led
It demonstrates the importance of There are also concerns related several thermal (nuclear and fossil-
hydropower in Europe that hydro- to the hydropower development. In fuelled) power plants in Europe and
power generated 16% of the electric- many areas, hydropower generation the south-eastern USA to reduce
ity in 2008 and there are currently is in conflict with other water uses, production. Thermoelectric power
about 7,000 large dams. There is notably irrigated agriculture. Hydro- plants produce the majority of total
at present time renewed interest in power is one of the main drivers of electricity in the USA (91%) and in
hydropower as it may allow capacity hydro morphological alteration, loss Europe (78%).
expansion of other renewable en- of connectivity and change in the An increase in and spread of water
ergy sources, reduce carbon dioxide flow of water and sediment. scarcity and stress is predicted to af-
emissions and, in some cases, bet- Another trend is that freshwater fect about half the river basins in the
ter cope with the predicted increase supplies are increasingly augmented EU by 2030 (EC, 2012c).

The value of tools for promoting sustainable development
and the reality of low integration in available tools
At a global level, the need for Nexus for resource management. However, ing countries, economies in transi-
toolkits has been established (UN, there are examples of these ap- tion and in developed countries. In
2014). Not being the least to meet proaches that have been shown to be transboundary basins the impacts
the recently proposed United Na- inadequate, especially where resourc- potentially propagate beyond state
tions Post-2015 ‘Sustainable Devel- es are tightly interwoven (Welsch et borders, therefore calling for coopera-
opment Goals’ (SDGs). In a flagship al., 2014, Herman et al., 2013). Each tion between riparian countries in
assessment discussed later, the multi- approach examines future develop- the management and use of shared
faceted impact of a Nexus approach ment scenarios of one sector, yet no water resources, including on water
will be demonstrated5 A Nexus account of consistent and concurrent infrastructure. In such settings, the
(intersectorial) approach to resource scenarios of other sectors are nor- trade-offs and externalities may
management –also across borders– mally made. Integrated management cause friction between the riparian
would significantly facilitate progress processes make inter-sector linkages countries and different interests. The
towards many of the SDGs pro- explicit. However, they typically development of an approach to assess
posed by the Open Working Group, assume that the related sectors are the Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystems
including (but not limited to) those static, or that their development is Nexus in order to enhance inter-sec-
on hunger and food security, avail- not fundamentally changed by the tor coordination and transboundary
ability and sustainable management same ‘shocks’, scenario assumptions cooperation can therefore be helpful.
of water and sanitation for all and on or induced effects. This can result While all sectors are important, in
access to energy for all.6 in important feedbacks being ig- the context of transboundary basins,
The tools that support sectorial nored or overlooked. New approach- water provides a useful point of entry
policy making are becoming increas- es are needed and promising methods to a Nexus analysis. The physical link
ingly integrated. So called, Integrated are being developed (Howells and it creates between countries calls for
Energy Planning (IEP), Integrated Rogner, 2014). transboundary coordination. It is
Water Resource Management Shortcomings in inter-sectorial increasingly obvious that different
(IWRM), Integrated Land‐use Assess- coordination are a major chal- sectorial policies and development
ments (ILUA), etc. have been devel- lenge both on the national and plans that significantly impact on the
oped to study, plan and develop policy transboundary levels, in develop- status of water resources is outside
the domain and influence of water
management, underlining a need to
cooperate closely with different eco-
nomic sectors. As such, the ‘Nexus’
approach can be seen as a subsequent
(or even parallel) step to IWRM. It is
made for the purpose of strengthen-
ing transboundary cooperation by
actively involving all sectors whose
action can improve synergies.

Fig. 1. With few vital resources,

migrants have called for the help
of UN agencies and NGOs.
Dar al Salam, Sudan.
© UN Photo/Albert González Farran.

46 2 - 2014
Developing policy relevant integrated toolkits
Several case studies have been de- Chart 2
veloped and are designed for policy Policy relevant Nexus tool development
relevance. These have included: A. Moving towards more integrated governance is not trivial. It requires new skills, tools and motivation. This is where (Bartos and Chester, 2014) (2014) in their paper “The
Conservation Nexus: Valuing Interdependent Water and Energy Savings in Arizona” make an addition. Using a recently completed integrated water-energy model, they il-
• At the sub national level (Chart lustrate how the water and energy systems are intertwined in Arizona. Yet the state policies are not. The authors show that measures to reduce water use can indirectly reduce
2A), developing tools that assess energy supply needs. This results not only in savings on state-wide water bills but also (indirectly) on energy bills - and vice versa. For the socio-economy, this could translate
integrated water and energy effi- to cheaper services and more efficient resource use (Howells and Rogner, 2014).

ciency policy. B. In Burkina Faso analysis indicates that increasing energy use and GHG emissions directly, disproportionately and indirectly, improves energy security and reduces GHG emis-
sions. (Hermann et al., 2012). Essentially the work shows that by intensifying agriculture (requiring more mechanization, oil, and GHG intensive fertilizer) less agricultural land is
• At the national level challenges required. Lower land requirements, slow deforestation. With more forests there is a greater carbon stock. This provides more fuel wood, the major energy supply in the country.
associated with meeting concur- More forests sequester and reduce GHG emissions. In Mauritius (Howells et al., 2013), show that a policy designed to reduce energy import dependence, reduce GHG emissions
and improve economic performance is counterproductive under potential climate change. The policy, to move from sugar to bio ethanol production, neglected inter-sector
rent goals under threat by climate links. Taking them into account, shows that with drops in rainfall, more energy is required for water pumping and desalination – to maintain crop levels. This is expensive and
change (Chart 2B), and develop- requires the import of coal to fuel power stations that meet the increasing electricity demand. Water prices increase, and so too does the cost of cropping. In turn the price of the
ing coherent security and mitiga- ethanol produced goes up, making it less competitive on the international market. The increased burning of coal (the cheapest option for the island) increases the island’s GHG
emissions. These compounding interactions had previously gone unnoticed, though so called ‘integrated’ planning practice was employed.
tion policies.
C. At a global level (UN, 2014), the UN has developed the first open source Global Nexus model (called GLUCOSE). This was developed to show, amongst other things, if sector
• At a global level (Chart 2C), a first development plans are consistent. It indicated that this is not the case. For example, there is not enough land to provide food and bio fuel requirements - if current dietary trends
open toolkit to analyze develop- and agriculture productivity trends continue. Yet, a large number of global GHG mitigation outlooks indicate that large scale adoption of bio fuel is needed.
ment in the context of the Nexus.
These Nexus approaches aim to
Chart 3
improve the situation by developing
integrated assessments to strengthen Water and Energy Nexus in a transboundary context:
hydropower development and the international law
the knowledge base, working across
Development of hydropower potential provides opportunities for economic development and poverty reduction, but also has potential impacts on the environment and on other
sectors and for development of water uses, including by co-riparian countries.
coherent policies that support co-
Key principles of international water law –i.e. equitable and reasonable utilization, prevention of significant transboundary impact, and the obligation of cooperation– apply
optimization. Bazilian et al. (2011), well to the construction of new hydropower facilities as well as operation and maintenance of existing ones. More specific obligations that international law imposes on States in
based on (IAEA, 2009) conclude this area are to take all necessary measures, i.e., to exercise due diligence, in order to maintain and protect installations, facilities and others works at international watercourses,
and to notify and consult on the planned measures.
treating the three areas of the water-
energy-food Nexus holistically would The UNECE environmental conventions, in particular the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention, 1992)
and the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention, 1991), provide strong legal frameworks for cooperation on planned
lead to a more optimal allocation measures on transboundary watercourses. The recent developments with the UNECE Water Convention becoming a global treaty, the entry into force of the Convention on the Law
of resources, improved economic of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (UN Watercourses Convention, 1997), and the prospective opening of the Espoo Convention would further reinforce
the legal frameworks for cooperation on shared waters and water infrastructure at the global level.
efficiency, lower environmental and
health impacts and better economic
development conditions. In short, International water law and its international cooperation, but as
overall optimization of welfare. instruments clear, transparent and has been shown, cross sector coor-
Water is an important entry consultative procedures about devel- dination also.
point, with water resources being opment projects –including energy So far, work on the Nexus of
used by almost all economic sectors related ones– in transboundary basins water, energy and food specifically
and the society for different purposes to achieve better-informed decisions, to targeting transboundary river basins
and by different users. prevent disputes and to lead to better has hardly been carried out, and
When it comes to water resources, development paths (Chart 3). there have been no toolkits specifical-
friction and potential conflicts may In brief, management of trans- ly designed to address this challenge.
result from tensions between sectorial boundary waters requires not only The approach to assessing intersecto-
objectives, unintended consequences
of resource management and trade-
offs between sectors, both at the
national and the international level. A
classic example of a water use for en-
ergy which may affect other water uses
is hydropower which –if developed
unilaterally without adequate consid-
eration to downstream co-riparian’s’
needs and to intersectorial impacts–
may degrade transboundary relations.

rial linkages, trade-offs and benefits, nificant cross-sector and cross-border
developed for transboundary basins relationships exist. This helps lay a
under the UNECE Water Conven- foundation to develop coordinated
tion (Chart 4), identifies where sig- actions to meet development needs.

Chart 4
The UNECE Water Convention
The Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) takes an integrated and cross-sectorial approach to regula-
tion of water quantity and quality issues. This implies strengthening local, national and regional measures to prevent, control and reduce transboundary impacts –one of the core
principles of the Convention– and to ensure sustainable management of transboundary waters. As its other core principle, the Convention promotes equitable and reasonable
use of transboundary waters. (e.g. UNECE, 2011).
The Water Convention was signed in Helsinki in 1992 and entered into force in 1996. Some 39 countries in the pan-European region and the European Union are Parties to the
Convention. The Water Convention, initially negotiated as a regional (pan-European) instrument has been amended in 2003 to open it globally, to all UN Member States and
these amendments entered into force in 2013 (UNECE 2013).

UNECE’s approach to assessing the Nexus

At its sixth session (Rome, 28-30 in recognition of the possibility that Chart 5
November 2012), the Meeting of friction and potential conflicts in The Task Force on the
the Parties to the Water Convention water management might result from Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystems Nexus
included an assessment of the Water- tensions between sectorial objectives,
The work of the Task Force seeks to address, through improved understanding,
Food-Energy-Ecosystems Nexus in unintended consequences of resource problems related to low coherence and a lack of integration between sectorial
the Convention’s programme of work management and trade-offs between policies, which result in negative impacts on the status of shared waters.
for 2013-2015. This decision was sectors, both at the national and the
The Task Force brings together primarily representatives of the countries sharing
international level. By assessing the the basins in which a Nexus Assessment has been proposed to be carried out, as
situation in transboundary basins well as representatives of organizations undertaking parallel initiatives, partners,
Fig. 2. A Nexus diagram reflecting the jointly and improving the knowledge experts and stakeholders. The meetings of the Task Force in April 2013 and in
September 2014, allowed for consulting the countries about needs and expecta-
conceptual interlinking employed in base, synergies can be achieved and tions; laying the foundation for developing an approach; review, commenting and
this intersectorial assessment. potential solutions identified. refinement of the methodology as well as sharing of experience.

In the same session, the Parties

to the UNECE Water Convention
established also a Task Force on the
Nexus to oversee and guide an as-
sessment of selected transboundary
basins for intersectorial issues and for
identification (Chart 5).
The aim of the assessment is to
identify intersectorial synergies that
could be further explored and uti-
lized for additional benefits in the
different basins, and to determine
policy measures and actions that
could alleviate negative consequenc-
es of the Nexus and help to opti-
mize the use of available resources.
The assessment process should
help the countries move towards

48 2 - 2014
increased efficiency in resource use, the present, it is explored, mainly
greater policy coherence and co- in descriptive terms, what changing
management, and build capacity in drivers and the climate outlook mean
addressing intersectorial issues. for the intersectorial links/the Nexus
The process also looks to gener- in the future.
ate relevant information to support Once the main intersectorial
decision-making at different levels issues have been identified and the
to move towards a more efficient use most important ones distinguished
of resources and to enhance sus- with the participants of the work-
tainability. It has been designed to shop, the focus is turned to how to
support ownership by the authorities, better reconcile the different uses,
meaningful participation by vari- that is, to identify what opportuni-
ous stakeholders, learning together ties there are to reduce negative
(developing capacity in the coun- intersectorial impacts and enhance
tries) and the exchange of experience synergies.
between basins. The following analysis focuses on
The participatory part of the pro- and substantiates using indicators the
cess in particular, with an intersecto- main intersectorial issues identified
rial basin workshop as a key step, jointly with the riparian countries.
involves looking at the plans of the Indicators help to illustrate aspects
sectors in the riparian countries’ and such as demand for resources by sec-
discussing whether the plans of the tor and efficiency of use, dependen- Fig. 3. MINUSTAH and the OPC working
different sectors are compatible. Fur- cies as well as resource scarcities and to rehabilitate the water system.
thermore, as it is not enough to con- securities (water, food, energy and Saut d’Eau, Haiti.
sider the intersectorial dynamics in environmental). © UN Photo/Victoria Hazou.

Fig. 4. Key elements The approach, developed by the the countries have appreciated the
of the methodology Royal Institute of Technology (KTH, opportunity for intersectorial discus-
developed for assessing Stockholm) in cooperation with sions, which are not common prac-
the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems UNECE, is presented schematically tice even at the national level. The
Nexus in transboundary basins. in Figure 4. general assessment framework was
The application of the meth- developed to assess diverse basins,
odology has demonstrated that it but the methodology allows for flex-
facilitates a dialogue across sectors ibility to adjust to the characteristics
and resources. The representatives of of each basin.

The transboundary Nexus Assessment

of the Alazani/Ganikh Basin – selected insights
An on-going Nexus Assessment of vides useful orientation by stakehold- Ganikh in Georgia in Novem-
the Alazani/Ganikh Basin, shared by ers in the region, their organization ber 2013 in cooperation with the
Azerbaijan and Georgia, illustrates to adopt a Nexus approach to their UNDP/GEF Kura project “Reduc-
the application of the methodology. future decision making processes ing Transboundary Degradation in
The findings demonstrate the need needs to be justified. the Kura Aras River Basin” and the
and value of transboundary, inter- In applying the methodology, Ministry of Environment Protection
sector cooperation, beyond water. the basin workshop is the key step, and Natural Resources of Georgia.
While the assessment in itself pro- organised in the case of the Alazani/ The workshop brought together

50 2 - 2014
ministries of environment, energy,
agriculture, emergency situations,
communities, state agencies, com-
panies and civil society from both
countries to identify jointly future
tendencies and the main intersecto-
rial issues (Figure 5).
Special attention is paid to inter-
sector and trans-boundary links.
These are later needed in order to
identify areas of cooperation. And
the effects between sectors are quali-
tatively described. This is done in
general terms, considering socio-eco-
nomic trends (population growth,
economic development etc.), stra-
tegic directions and priorities of the
countries, and external constraints,
such as climate change.

Fig. 5. Stakeholders working on

identifying the main intersectorial links
at the Nexus Assessment workshop
held in Kachreti, Georgia. Photo:
Ministry of the Environment of Georgia.

Scenarios of integrated development

One such scenario, for example, in the the trend is continued. (In Azerbaijan, The lack limited of flood control and
Alazani/Ganikh, is the implication of alternative fuels are accessible at low the difficulty of effectively limiting
continued fuel wood use at the house- cost). However, fuel wood harvesting flash flooding increases the severity of
hold level in Georgia which highlights causes deforestation (an inter-sector effects from flooding (an inter-sector
implications of energy policy on link). Deforestation causes the loss of link). As Georgia is upstream, flood-
the ecosystems and water resources. ecosystem services (another intersec- ing is propagated downstream, and as
Fuel wood harvested from a forest torial link). Amongst others these the river forms border for a substantial
provides the heat needed for cook- include loss of flood control service part of its length, both countries are
ing and heating, yet its use increases (due to rainfall runoff implications), affected by the flooding and its effects
pollution in the home. As the wood a reduction in terrestrial carbon stock on the erosion (a transboundary link).
is free, and the opportunity cost of (as carbon is captured in the forest The net effect is both intersectorial
people’s time spent collecting it is low, trees), and degradation of ecosystems. and transboundary.

Intersectorial, transboundary solutions

After brainstorming and identifying ble solutions were identified. Solutions arrangements, infrastructure operation
needs and issues, uncovering key inter- could be of various kinds –changes to and so on–. Particularly promising
sectorial issues in meeting those needs, policies, new policies, management may be solutions that require cross
then cross-sector transboundary possi- and measures practices, institutional sector, transboundary actions.

Fig. 6. The UN General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests
to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable
development of all types of forests.
Bosung, Republic of Korea. © UN Photo/Kibae Park.

In the Alazani, indoor air pollu-

tion is reduced as people abandon
the use of wood fuel, in Georgia.
This improves household health (a
benefit). Yet, reduced fuel wood
harvesting increases forest stock.
Increased forest stock captures
carbon dioxide as woody biomass
(an inter sector co-benefit). This is
entered in national GHG accounts
(a local action with national impli-
cations). Further, increased forest
cover improves the health of eco-
systems in the region. Supporting a
key economic growth sector, namely
tourism (an inter sector co-benefit).
The increased forest stock dampens
and retains run-off, providing key
flood control services. As Georgia
is upstream, the effect is felt down-
stream in Azerbaijan.
An intersectorial action in re-
sponse with a transboundary dimen-
sion could be fuel wood substitution
in the Georgian side of the Alazani/
Ganikh. Natural gas is already im-
ported from Azerbaijan to Georgia.
This is just one clear indication
of how the ‘Nexus approach’ or an
intersectorial perspective adds value.
It can help uncover the co-benefits
(or external costs) associated with
actions in one sector, provides insight
at local and national level as well as
across boundaries.
The potential benefits of such
options of cooperation across sec-
tors and countries are substantiated,
wherever the available data is enough
to support it, with explicit calcula-
tions (for example, on emissions
reduction or savings obtainable, etc).
The countries are also pursuing
other paths to make energy avail-
able in the basin such as developing
small scale hydropower generation,
but the challenge is how to do it
sustainably, minimizing also envi-
ronmental impacts.

52 2 - 2014
Linking to relevant policy processes

Ideally, once the effort is made, the instance, in some basins the riparian In the riparian countries of the Ala-
thinking and dialogue should be countries are part of the EU Water zani/Ganikh, the relevant policy de-
prolonged to explore who (which sec- Initiative’s National Policy Dialogues, velopments that the assessment could
tor, organization etc.) is in a position where the implications of the assess- inform include Azerbaijan’s new Water
to address the identified potential ment’s findings may help formulate Strategy and development plan for the
solutions how this might be translated their water policies. In some cases, or- regions, Georgia’s new Energy Strategy
into, and what concrete actions could ganizations like basin organizations and the new Water Law, currently with
be undertaken by local actors, includ- or other joint bodies, possibly with a the parliament, and finally the bilateral
ing authorities. This could benefit multiple sector representation, could agreement on water cooperation which
from linking into ongoing or planned provide a framework for identification is in the process of being negotiated
initiatives and policy processes. For of beneficial future activities. between Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Toward policy coherence and better governance

Good governance, including intersec- – Missing agreements or institutions. Fig. 7. The Economic and Social Council
torial coordination and participation – Limited mandate of existing insti- (ECOSOC) discussion on the
of the different interests and stake- tutions. Contribution to the Elaboration
holders, is an essential basis for put- – Composition of institutions and Agenda Post-2015 Development.
ting the Nexus approach into practice. decision-making processes. Geneva, Switzerland.
Availability of legal frameworks – Weak enforcement capacity etc. © UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré.
in a transboundary basin including
both framework conventions and
specific agreements; emphasis on
complementarity and coherence;
joint institutions for transboundary
cooperation around the world (dem-
onstrating differing levels of success)
to foster dialogue between different
interests, supporting harmonization
etc., are needed.
At the transboundary level,
instruments/frameworks of inter-
national law, such as the UNECE
Water Convention contribute to
strengthening the legal and institu-
tional basis, e.g. through the obliga-
tion for the Riparian Parties to enter
into agreements on the transbound-
ary waters they share and to establish
joint bodies like river commissions
for their implementation.
Among the reasons potentially
behind the short-comings in ad-
dressing intersectorial issues at the
transboundary level, just to mention
a few, are the following:

Some key factors related to the institutional arrangements at Fig. 8. Access to water
intersectorial aspects of transbound- transboundary level are conducive and sanitation
ary cooperation can be highlighted to intersectorial coordination. The in developing countries.
from the principles of organization basis is an analysis of the institutional Dhaka, Bangladesh.
and activities that generally increase and governance structures associated © UN Photo/Kibae Park.
the efficiency of joint bodies and with the selected river basin helping
contribute to reaching a mature to gain a better understanding of the
level of cooperation.7 Among them, context in which the different sectors
importantly, the existence of a of activity operate.
sufficiently broad representation
of national authorities in the joint
body (beyond water management), Chart 6
to ensure that the different interests The emerging governance analysis
and concerns are considered while The methodology for the analysis of governance aspects, developed in cooperation with the University of Geneva for the Nexus Assessment under the Water Convention is divided
maintaining the institution’s struc- into four main steps, listed below.

ture operational. 1) Identification of the main sectors of activity involved in the management of the resources concerned;
One component of the methodol- 2) Analysis of the main policies and regulations at the sectorial and intersectorial levels;
ogy developed under the Water Con- 3) Analysis of the configuration of the actors their nature as well as links between the actors (private actors, public actors, national actors, international actors, users associations,
NGOs, etc.); and
vention is an institutional assessment,
4) Identification of specific hot spots, that is, the main rivalries at different institutional levels (local, regional, national, transboundary).
which focuses on studying whether

54 2 - 2014
Concluding remarks: Value of integrated
assessments for decision-making and policy development
It can be concluded that there is While an intersectorial-trans- and partnerships can play an impor-
potentially much to gain for govern- boundary dialogue has value by itself tant role in this. The unique situation
ments from integrated assessments. already, adequate data is necessary for of each river basin and aquifer as well
By sharing information and through an accurate and meaningful analysis. as common context specificity needs
dialogue, by applying assessment Nevertheless, already a scoping level to be recalled though. It requires
tools (including mapping and mod- exercise with limited analysis and careful assessment which to identify
els), it is possible to find win-win quantification can point at the right “solutions” which can be transferable.
opportunities. direction and highlight potential
However, diverse expectations benefits that could be explored fur-
can also lead to disappointments ther - shortages raise awareness about
and limited resources constrain vulnerabilities and can trigger more
Dra. Annukka Lipponen
ambitions. Active participation and rationalised use of water. Environment Division,
commitment from the different key Knowledge base about intersecto- United Nations Economic
stakeholders are necessary to make rial impacts and trade-offs is improv- Commission for Europe (UNECE)

a Nexus Assessment into a relevant ing, even though availability of quan-

Prof. Mark Howells
exercise that supports policy and tified examples is limited. Also, good Department of Energy Systems Analysis,
decisions at different levels. practices are getting disseminated Royal Institute of Technology

1. The views expressed in this article are those Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable – NUECE 2011. Strengthening Water Manage-
of the authors and do not necessarily reflect management of water and sanitation for al. ment and Transboundry Water Cooperation in
the views of the United Nations Economic Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, Central Asia: the Role of NUECE Environmental
Commission for Europe. sustainable, and modern energy for all. Convention. United Nations, New York and
2. The Nexus term in the context of water, food For a full list of the proposed SDGs, the re- Geneva.
and energy refers to these sectors being in- port of the OWG should be referred to. – Fifth World Water Development Report (WW-
separably linked, so that actions in one area 7. These principles for effective joint bod- DR) (NU-WWAP, 2014), “Water and Energy”.
can have impacts on the others, as well as on ies are available in document WG.1/2014/ – Bartos, M.D., Chester, M.V., 2014. The Con-
ecosystems. INF.2 available at servation Nexus: Valuing Interdependent
3. UNECE region cover 56 countries in the Euro- fileadmin/DAM/env/documents/2014/ Water and Energy Savings in Arizona. Envi-
pean Union, non-EU Western and Eastern Eu- WAT/06Jun_25-26_Geneva/Informal_doc_2_ ron. Sci. Technol. 48, 2139-2149. doi:10.1021/
rope, South-East-Europe and Commonwealth Principles-of-joint-bodies_final.pdf/. es4033343/.
of Independent States (CIS) and North America. – Hermann, S., Welsch, M., Segerstrom, R.E.,
4. Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parlia- Howells, M.I., Young, C., Alfstad, T., Rogner, H.-
ment and of the Council of 23 April 2009 H., Steduto, P., 2012. Climate, land, energy and
on the promotion of the use of energy from Referencias bibliográficas water (CLEW) interlinkages in Burkina Faso: An
renewable sources. – Bazilian, Morgan, Rogner, H., Howells, Mark, analysis of agricultural intensification and bio-
5. Underlining the international topicality of Hermann, Sebastian, Arent, D., Gielen, Dolf, energy production. Nat. Resour. Forum 36, 245-
policy coherence concerns, the High-Level Steduto, Pasquale, Mueller, A., Komor, P., Tol, 262. doi:10.1111/j.1477-8947.2012.01463.x/.
Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable De- R.S.J., Yumkella, K.K., 2011. Considering the – Howells, M., Rogner, H.-H., 2014. Water-En-
velopment 2014, held under the auspices of Energy, Water and Food Nexus: Towards an ergy Nexus: Assessing integrated systems.
the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), integrated modelling approach. Energy Policy Nat. Clim. Change 4, 246-247. doi:10.1038/
had among its topics of debate “From silos 39, 7896-7906. nclimate2180/.
to integrated policy making”. One of the – Howells, Mark, Hermann, Sebastian, Wel- – IAEA, I.A.E.A., 2009. Annex VI: Annex VI SEEK-
background documents states: In the context sch, Manuel, Bazilian, Morgan, Segerström, ING SUSTAINABLE CLIMATE, LAND, ENERGY
of a universal, people-centred, integrated R., Alfstad, Thomas, Gielen, Dolf, Rogner, H., AND WATER (CLEW) STRATEGIES, in: Nuclear
sustainable development agenda Post-2015, Fischer, Guenther, van Velthuizen, H., Wiberg, Technology Review. International Energy
it can be expected that integration will be at D., Young, Charles, Roehrl, R.A., Mueller, A., Agency.
the centre of policy concerns. Steduto, Pasquale, Ramma, Indoomatee, 2013. – NU, 2014. Chapter 6: Special theme – The
6. In the OWG proposal, the above-mentioned Integrated analysis of climate change, land- Climate Land-Energy-Water-Development
goals are defined as follows: use, energy and water strategies. Nat. Clim. Nexus, in: Prototype Global Sustainable De-
Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security Change 3, 621-626. velopment Report. United Nations, New York.
and improved nutrition, and promote sus- – United Nations, 2014. Global Sustainable De-
tainable agriculture. velopment Report.

Water and energy,
a critical alliance
for sustainable development
Ángel Simón Grimaldos

climate change
sustainable development

housands of years ago, when it was still be- of all nature.” It is no coincidence that progress, water
lieved that the world was flat and life flowed technology and its derivatives made the economy, culture
without haste, water, air, fire and earth con- and social development flourish.
stituted the basic elements which explained We are so trapped by the hasty flow of events that we
nature, the basis of all life. These four elements were the have lost the ability to focus on the tiny details that
foundations of the human cosmogony in pre-Socratic reflect the true pulse of life: the changing colour of the
times. Nowadays, the basis of our present and, above sky, the smell of wet grass, the sparkling eyes of a child,
all, of our future has been transmuted into a triangle in the changing seasons… Westerners are increasingly alien-
which water, energy and food are the vertices of a human- ated from nature and we think, naively, that all answers to
centred globalization. our questions are to be found in a synthetic universe that
Water, which was already at the basis of ancient fits in the palm of our hand, in the narrow screen of our
thought, is an essential element for life. In ancient Greek, mobile phone or tablet, no matter how smart they may be.
Zisabrós was the word for either a treasure or a water well, Nature, as is widely known in the East, is a compendium of
and therefore water itself. Rather than a basic necessity, wisdom and a source of inspiration. The forces that move it
water is the source of life itself and is an essential ele- enclose the basis for sustainable development and a balance
ment for its continuity. Water cultures were present at the between all the elements. The role of water, earth, fire and
beginning of the great Neolithic civilizations. The utiliza- air in each of their manifestations should be noted. We need
tion of the waters of the Indus, the Euphrates and the to see how they interact in the fury of a volcano, the beauty
Nile favoured a spectacular technological development in of a waterfall or the sound of a storm. We need to immerse
water treatment, new knowledge paradigms and even the ourselves in this richness in order to understand nature and
appearance of water-linked political powers and religions. to understand ourselves, in the best tradition of Socratic
Leonardo da Vinci said that “water is the driving force thought, inspired by the words allegedly written on the

58 2 - 2014
pediment of Apollo’s temple at Delphi: derful home that is our planet, and a
“Know thyself.” The future depends better understanding of the reality of
on knowing how to adapt to this won- the species which inhabit it.

Tackling inequality
I am reminded, in the twilight of adequate sanitation, sufficient food mould the future, with humankind
2014, of the celebration, held on and energy services. The United Na- gravitating at its centre. Often, the
March 22, World Water Day, which tions listed five key issues in promot- same population, without access
the United Nations dedicated this ing sustainable practices in the field of to water and sanitation, also lacks
year to raising awareness about the water and energy. Firstly, and obvi- food and energy. In this context, the
importance of the Water-Energy ously enough, water requires energy in choice of a circular economy seems
Nexus. Both elements are basic pil- all phases of its catchment, processing to be the most sensible and effective
lars for balanced economic develop- and distribution, and energy needs way to optimize and reuse the level
ment: access to both is mandatory water to be produced in almost all of resources available.
to eradicate poverty in vast areas its forms. According to the Spanish
of the earth’s geography and meet Energy Grid operator, Red Eléctrica,
the UN Millennium Development hydropower accounted for 7.6% of
Goals. The discussion on the use of Spain’s electricity consumption in Coordinated policies
these resources cannot be held in 2012, exceeding photovoltaic, thermal
isolation, as we may run the risk of renewable and solar thermal sources.
finding partial solutions that do not The asymmetry between the two Another aspect highlighted by the
address their natural links. It is true concepts mentioned cannot hide the UN is that saving one, whether
that there are important similarities numerous and important examples water or energy, necessarily helps to
between the two, but also substantial of interaction and interdependence. save the other. Currently, 15% of
differences. Both elements are basic We might even speak of conceptual global water consumption is used for
to Humanity, are global resources subordination. Both sectors can do electricity and 8% of global energy
of heterogeneous availability, are a lot together, and this is fundamen- use is for the extraction, treatment
affected by climate change, involve tal for the future of humanity: the and transport of water. On the other
high infrastructure costs… Parallel to production of energy for life at the hand, it warns that the most deprived
this, while energy is marketed on a current level of our organic growth sector of the global population ur-
global level, water has local roots; the is influenced by the availability and gently needs access to both water ser-
former is expensive while the latter is existence of water. Agriculture is the vices and electricity. Estimates indi-
objectively cheap, although often not planet’s food base, the third vertex cate that there are 1.3 billion people
perceived as such; Energy may pro- of the triangle we must address without electricity around the world,
ceed from different sources but water from the sustainable development 768 million lack access to improved
has a single source; access to water perspective. Based on a democratic drinking water sources and up to
is a human right, nothing similar logic and on respect for diversity, we 2.5 billion lack sanitation. Reducing
existing for energy; the water needed must strive to find a holistic balance. these deficits in services, which result
to produce energy has a scarce impact The supplies of both fresh water and in inequalities, is one of the priority
on the final price, whereas the power energy are limited and demand is measures to eradicate poverty world-
to ensure the water supply has a sig- increasing and will continue to grow wide. Finally, a more efficient use of
nificant impact on its price… significantly in the coming decades. water and energy requires the imple-
According to the UN, it is neces- A UN report, on the occasion of the mentation of coordinated, coherent
sary to emphasize the relationship 2013 World Water Day, estimates and concerted policies. This call is
between these elements, especially that by 2030 water demand will addressed to world leaders, from
addressing inequalities, taking into increase by 40%, energy consump- whom the UN requests “national in-
account what it means for a large part tion will double, and the need for novative and pragmatic policies that
of the population living in marginal food will grow by about a third. can lead to greater efficiency and a
areas and impoverished rural areas Once more, water, energy and food better provision of cost-effective wa-
without access to drinking water, to are pillars for a balance which will ter and energy services”. There will be

no sustainable development without status. The solutions cannot come Poverty reduction and economic
water and energy for all. from following models that solve the progress often lead to ecosystem dete-
One of the major challenges of energy problems by increasing water rioration. The American president,
the world, particularly regarding scarcity in certain areas or improving Barack Obama, has finally recog-
emerging and developing economies, water security while aggravating en- nized the enormous risk posed by
is to meet the water and energy needs ergy problems; or, even worse, trying climate change and has established
in the coming decades. It is clear to solve shortcomings at the expense this issue as a top priority on his
that the most deprived require these of the environment. If we accept the political agenda, so often shaken by
services most urgently. All energy truth of this mutual dependency, we the numerous military, religious,
sources use water at some stage of can address a wide range of problems humanitarian or natural conflicts
their generation process, be that dur- and solutions through an integrated that proliferate at this time of
ing the extraction of raw materials, approach: from the management of global transformation and uncer-
the cooling of thermal power plants, water supply systems to the design tainty. The Middle East, Iraq, Syria,
the cleaning activities, growing bio- of efficient energy models, and in- the horn of Africa and the Sahel are
fuels or flowing through the turbines. cluding the sustainable management the scenery of conflicts that have,
There is a clear interconnection and, of the supporting infrastructures. Co- in many cases, water and energy
despite the short-term success of ordinated and parallel development as their background, although the
some alternatives or mitigating mea- of energy and water policies, rather innocent victims are only aware of
sures, partial responses are doomed to than their isolated and independent their suffering and despair. But this
fail in the medium and long term. evolution, is essential for sustainable climate change manifests itself in
A joint reflection and a compre- development. The energy sector, ex- natural phenomena that threaten
hensive and coordinated response posed to increasing risks, must accept the safety of people in many areas
that often goes beyond the local are the increasing importance of includ- of the planet: polar melting causes
needed, acquiring a transnational ing water issues in its strategic plans. the Alaskan coastline to be reduced

60 2 - 2014
by six metres per year; the popu- We are facing a crumbling of tra- the need for more renewable energy
lation living less than one metre ditional models and alleged absolute and resources, must be among the
above sea level may suffer from an truths. These are times of “liquid” priorities of world leaders, interna-
increase in this level; the North relations between the main actors in tional corporations and companies,
Pole ice surface is reducing, result- our society. It is vital to address the which will be accountable for their
ing in ocean warming… Examples effects of human activity on the cli- decisions to future generations,
abound; decisions to address cli- mate. The shortage of raw materials which will not forgive short-term vi-
mate change are lacking. and food, linked to water supply and sions and delusions.

11 billion inhabitants by the end of the century

Population growth, with the emer- es within our driving forces. Young- sibility is to learn from nature,
gence of cities as its most prominent sters in Silicon Valley are searching from its tense harmony, to do more
symptom, is an unquestionable real- for new business models which will with less, to achieve a new equilib-
ity. Forecasts indicate that by 2030 continue to revolutionize our tele- rium, wherever the human being
there will be 400 new large cities in communications, e-commerce and is doomed to subsistence and the
China, which represents a challenge information that may substantially future is just a dream to migrate to
for the entire planet. According to the change human relations. Many of other areas of the world with plenti-
latest predictions, the world popula- these leaps have already occurred, but ful misused resources. However,
tion will reach 11 billion by the end the innovation setting is far from its like any other system, nature has its
of the century, compared with 7.2 maturity point. Surely robotics, big own rhythm, achieving a balance
billion today. A greedy and irrespon- data and new materials will surprise in the medium and long term, has
sible use of the available resources us, making what we currently con- its own changing life, sometimes
linked to urban development’s cur- sider to be innovative and immovable violent and even cruel in its mani-
rent model forces us to deal promptly solutions obsolescent. However, the festations; from drought to floods,
with the cities’ needs. An intelligent biggest challenge is to find new ways from lack to excess, with no respite.
response to the Water-Energy Nexus to ensure the availability of water and The ability to understand, prevent
is required to find a new economic energy, allowing us to abandon a de- and control natural phenomena
development model that allows us to velopment scheme that does not take is also one of our major concerns.
move toward the global introduction into account the necessary balance Wealth also lies in the ability to find
of a circular economy and a process of between the different elements. Such new ways to add value to what now
reducing inequalities. challenges must be managed proper- seems to have none, or whose value
Water is a human right, as ly, using knowledge and technologi- is beyond our comprehension. Mi-
declared by the United Nations in cal advances as drivers for a new era gratory waves have always existed,
2010 and, as we know, we do not so of smart and responsible growth. but never before have inequalities
much face a problem of scarcity as of As has happened throughout been so pronounced. The possibility
governance and good management humankind’s history, our respon- to take a shower, use a toilet, have
of the available resources. In this
regard, technology plays an impor-
tant role and allows us to be optimis-
tic about the possibility of finding
breakthrough solutions which will
leave obsolete formulations behind.
We have made meteorical progress
in information management and in
new communication channels, brain
research and the human genome, as
well as in many other fields that will
shape 21st century society. But we
still have several unresolved challeng-

electricity, heating or air condition- examples showing that the Water- dustrial sector is the major consumer
ing… are still amenities available to Energy Nexus must be adequately ad- and efficient use of water resources
a few in this global world. Some- dressed on both domestic and cross- for energy production will inevitably
thing that is just part of our daily border programmes and policies, in contribute to the consolidation of a
routine is a miracle for hundreds of particular with a view to meeting the “green economy”, where food is the
millions of people. Millennium Development Goals and third vertex of this strategic triangle
Every place, every little village the development of the Post-2015 that we already mentioned as basic
and every large country has its own Agenda. At the end of the day, the in- “food for thought”.

The three C’s Revolution

Sustainable development must be intelligence to integrate them, is one cially in the present circumstances,
based on knowledge, talent manage- of our most precious assets. Coopera- public-private partnership is a crucial
ment and innovation. These are the tion, so necessary between regions, practice, taking into account the
foundations that will allow us to between water and energy, between role of each of the sectors, each actor
optimize the Water-Energy Nexus the country and cities, is a new tal- respecting the role of all the others
through management based on envi- ent. Knowledge transfer is the key to and accepting their responsibilities.
ronmental conservation and the con- a new partnership, a model in which The public sector should provide
tinuous improvement of energy ef- we all win with sustainable growth independent regulatory agencies and
ficiency. It is a question of developing which includes cities, where intel- legal certainty; on our part, firms,
the “Three C’s Revolution”: Compre- ligent management and reuse are the we should be committed to service
hension, Cooperation and Com- driving forces of smart cities. quality, excellence in management
mitment. In this line of action, As water experts, connoisseurs and a process of continuous improve-
innovation is essential to address new passionate about our profession, we ment and innovation. This global
problems, seeking maximum efficien- learn every day from local experi- perception based on an accurate view
cy to minimize the use of available ences, while maintaining a global sensitive to the local context leads
resources and encouraging reuse in vision. We have a daily commitment: us to make a commitment to the
a circular economy. That is why all Rethinking the present to win the interests of the people and the ter-
initiatives committed to empowering future, which inevitably goes down ritories in which we operate. We are a
education and the University are so the path of sustainable development. local operator with global awareness,
important, where new ideas are to be This requires, more than ever, col- allowing us to transfer our lessons
conceived and new generations are laboration between all stakeholders: learnt. Globalization gives us a great
to be instructed, allowing us to meet governments, businesses, local and opportunity to network: connecting
our challenges ahead. Talent, the international institutions, profession- territories and research institutions,
transformative power of ideas and the als, scientists and citizens. Espe- moving towards a global community
of knowledge on water and, there-
fore, an essential partner when look-
ing for the best options regarding
the energy sector. The best corporate
governance has resulted in greater
sustainability and good environ-
mental practices, becoming a main
indicator to be taken into account
when a variety of institutions and
agencies such as the Norwegian Pen-
sion Fund or the Church of England
make investment decisions.
We have comprehended that the
efficient use of energy is a necessary
condition to ensure sustainability in
our business. Maintaining supply

62 2 - 2014
and sanitation services is an energy- commodity, essential for life and Nature must be our source of
intensive activity. General estimates for the sustainable development inspiration on the path to a more
indicate that between ten and twenty of humankind. It is therefore our sustainable world, with a more equal
per cent of electricity consumption duty to reflect and take action on all distribution of wealth and a rational
is somehow related to water. The scales, proceeding as a torchbearer use of resources. Contemplating Vic-
necessary balance, optimizing internal in the discussion and social engage- toria Falls, the natural border between
relations within the Water-Energy ment. This is why we have reached Zimbabwe and Zambia, the Bromo
Nexus forces us to think about how agreements with various national volcano in Indonesia or the Great
to generate a net energy surplus in and international institutions and Barrier Reef in Australia may help us
wastewater treatment processes. Some agencies, including this publication understand the supreme intelligence
studies suggest that the chemical which is the result of a joint collabo- with which the forces of nature, those
energy stored in wastewater daily per ration with UN-Water and the World four basic elements of ancient civili-
person is equivalent to the electric- Council of Civil Engineers (WCCE). zations, have achieved integration and
ity needed to power a hundred-watt But we are also working with UNI- understanding, a natural engineer-
light bulb for eight hours. We need CEF to develop projects in the Peru- ing and geothermal testimonial in
to be creative, to innovate constantly, vian Amazon, which will significantly which the equilibrium is not a means,
be committed to the development of improve the conditions of access to but an end in itself. A lesson still to
out-of-the-box technologies, to seek water and sanitation for 5,000 fami- be learned.
greater integration of water and en- lies; and with Toledo’s International
ergy policies, to convert our premises Centre for Peace, developing sustain-
into generators instead of consumers, able self-management of water and
always with an eye on the overbearing energy services for communities of
need to contribute to a paradigm shift Lebanon; or in India, jointly with the
in the Water-Energy relationship. Vicente Ferrer Foundation, installing
Ángel Simón Grimaldos
World Water Day was established solar-powered drip irrigation systems Civil Engineer
to remember that water is a public in fourteen villages. Chairman of the Aquae Foundatio

Water & Energy in Mexico:
Synergy for Sustainability
Víctor Javier Bourguett Ortíz
Ana Alicia Palacios Fonseca

renewable resources
small hydro


exico is implementing constitutional cil for Science and Technology and the Secretariat of
reforms in several fields, seeking to Energy. However, these efforts have focused on Geother-
provide a feasible path to the country mal, Solar and Wind energy, leaving development and
in a globalized world, in a period to be research into the hydropower sector pending. There is
known as postmodernism, which needs to improve the a high hydropower potential, mainly in the Southeast,
quality of life of its citizens. That is why the Water and where they have high rainfall (1,846 mm) and runoff
Power reform projects have among their objectives to figures (141,128 hm3/year). The topography and condi-
create mechanisms to ensure long-term environmental tions in the south of the country favour the develop-
sustainability, which include the reform of the Use of ment of small hydropower plants, which can be consid-
Renewable Energies and Financing of Energy Transition ered as a development mechanism for isolated areas, also
Act (LAERFTE). Such is responsible for regulating and having the advantage of being low investment projects
promoting the use of renewable energy sources to gener- with small negative environmental and social impacts,
ate electricity or clean technologies, as established in the as they alter slightly the ecosystems in where they are to
National Energy Strategy 2013-2027 (ENE 2013-2027) be located. However, it is necessary to build capacity for
and the National Climate Change Strategy. In Mexico the development of such technologies. Regarding this,
the energy output from renewable sources now accounts Mexico has research centres with expertise in such fields.
for 15.9% of total output, exploiting only 4.76% of This paper discusses the above in order to promote the
its potential (ENE, 2013 to 2027, SENER). As part of use of water resources as a means to energy sustain-
the efforts to address such adjustment, research funding ability and environmental and social balance as well as
programs have been designed, such as the Sustainable the development of technology for the welfare of future
Energy Fund (ESF), managed by the National Coun- generations and at a low cost.

64 2 - 2014
The Environment has become an crecimiento económico de Mexico, to reduce fossil fuels dependence, and
element of competitiveness and Secretaría de Economía, SE). That this can only be achieved through
economic and social development. is why the Special Climate Change renewable energy output, so the Fed-
The concept of “Sustainable De- Programme (ECCP) aims to reduce eral Government aims that by 2024,
velopment” was first presented in 50% of total emissions by 2050. To 35% of installed capacity in Mexico
1987 by the World Commission date, Mexico has signed nearly 100 to come from such sources.
on Environment and Development international agreements related to To achieve these goals, it is neces-
United Nations. Among the key the environment and Sustainable sary to reform the legal framework
factors required to tackle in order to Development, among which are: the so that the following options become
achieve Sustainable Development are Convention on Biological Diversity; available: a) expanding the share of
population growth, energy demand, UNFCCC United Nations Climate national and foreign companies in
climate change, water scarcity and Change and its Kyoto Protocol; the renewable energy, b) opening the
resource and waste management Stockholm Convention on Persistent market to sell surplus electricity; c) as-
elements. It will be only through ef- Organic Pollutants; the Montreal sessment of the existence of economic
ficient and rational resource manage- Protocol on Substances that affect and financial incentives for the gen-
ment, that we will be able to deliver the Ozone Layer; the UN Conven- eration of electricity from solar energy
economic progress and welfare to the tion to Combat Desertification; the d) implementation of reforms to the
people, without affecting the quality Convention on International Trade legal framework for the water sector.
of life to future generations. in Endangered Species of Flora and Within this Framework, Latin
Mexico emits only 1.5% of green- Fauna and the Millennium Develop- American countries are already
house gases worldwide; however, they ment Goals of the United Nations. obliged to monitor, protect and
have increased by 40% from 1990 One of the great challenges of the preserve natural resources, as well as
to 2008, (Desarrollo sustentable y country’s Sustainable Development is protect human, animal and plant life.

On December 20, 2013 in Mexico’s efits the environment by promoting
Official Gazette, the Energy Reform the use of clean fuels and renewable
was published with the amendment energy to reduce emissions of green-
of the Articles 25, 27 and 28 of the house gases.
Constitution of the United Mexican One of the main goals in this
States (Figure 1). Such reform ben- Reform is to encourage the use of
renewable energy on a large scale,
through sustainability, environmental
protection and energy security. The
Fig. 1. Publication in the Official
Energy Sector in 2013 has developed
Gazette of the Mexico’s Energy
a transition strategy to promote the
Reform on December 20, 2013.
use of cleaner fuels, called Energy
Planning (Figure 2), which includes
the following programs and institu-
tional reforms to the country.
The National Energy Strategy
2013-2027 promotes energy ef-
ficiency in the consumption and
production processes, preventing
and reducing environmental impacts
and risks to the population and the
ecosystem. Also, accelerates the tran-
sition to renewable energy sources
and thereby exploit the abundant
natural resources in the country. An
important factor in achieving this is
the mixed and private investment de-
livered through the development of
clean energy technologies, promoted
under the National Climate Change
Strategy to the energy sector.
Within the framework of subor-
dinate legislation of this reform, a
decree has been issued making the
National Energy Control Centre,
CENACE, to become an indepen-
dent public agency in charge of the
national electrical operational con-
trol, which together with the Energy
Regulatory Commission CRE, will
be responsible for promoting the ef-
ficient development of supply, issuing
standards, methodologies and other
provisions governing the electricity
generation from such sources and
pondering the opinions of specialized
research institutes, as well as national
and international best practices such
as the ones provided by the National
Agency of Industrial Safety and
Fig. 2. Energy Planning from 2013 onwards (SENER). Environmental Protection, through

66 2 - 2014
the Secretariat of Environment and GEF (Global Environment Fund) provision of sustainable productive
Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). to promote the implementation of infrastructure, as stated at the 5th
In addition to this, Mexico will high impact environmental projects, meeting of the World Environment
twofold its contribution to the promoted in the Reform through the Fund organized by SEMARNAT.


In a global context, the contribution
of renewable energies to the energy
output in 2010 was 16%; in Latin
America was 33%, while in Mexico
was 10% (Figure 3).
In the same global context, elec-
tricity generation through renewable
energy in 2013 contributes a 20.3%
and 15.9% in Mexico (Chart 1), ac-
cording to data from SENER in his
paper “Outlook for Renewable En-
ergy 2013-2027” (PER 2013-2027).
The same document states that
Fig. 3. Share of Renewable Energy in the World’s Energy Output.
the countries with the largest share of
electricity generation from renewable Chart 1
sources were China, United States, Electricity generation (GWh) from renewable sources Selected Economies, 2013
Brazil and Canada, which repre- Country/Region
Renewable Energy Output Energy Output Renewable Energy Contribution Renewable Energy Contribution
sented more than 49% of global (GWh) (GWh) to National’s Energy Output to Global Energy Output

renewable generation (Figure 4). It China 803,462 4,754,746 16.9% 17.87%

United States 551,898 4,349,571 12.7% 12.28%
is important to highlight that non-
Brazil 463,273 531,758 87.1% 10.30%
OECD countries in the Americas
Canada 396,854 636,989 62.3% 8.83%
(Organization for Economic Cooper-
Japan 135,927 1,051,251 12.9% 3.02%
ation and Development), are the ones
Germany 124,605 608,665 20.5% 2.77%
who have a strong commitment on
Spain 88,539 291,360 30.4% 1.97%
Mexico 46,964 295,837 15.9% 1.04%
Chile 26,020 65,713 39.6% 0.58%
Korea 10,712 523,286 2.0% 0.24%
Total OECD 2,130,680 10,866,959 19.6% 47.39%
World 4,495,707 22,200,994 20.3% 100.00%
Source: “Renewable Energy Prospective 2013-2027”, SENER. IEA. World Energy Statistics 2013. 2013.

Fig. 4. Percentage of electricity

generation from renewable sources
from selected economies, 2013.
Source: “Renewable Energy
Prospective 2013-2027”, SENER. IEA.
World Energy Statistics 2013. 2013.

power generation by these sources, as On June 7, 2013 the Use of technologies to generate electricity
is the case of Brazil that covers four- Renewable Energies and Financing of for purposes other than the provision
fifths of its domestic production by Energy Transition (LAERFTE) Act, of public electricity service, as well
renewable energies (PER 2013-2027, was amended, seeking to regulate the as defining the national strategy and
SENER). use of renewable energy and clean instruments to finance such energy
transition and encouraging research
and development of clean technolo-
gies for their use.
Within this Act renewable and
non-renewable energies are classified
as shown in the following diagram
(Figure 5).
Concordant to the (LAERFTE)
Act, SENER, jointly with the Fed-
eral Electricity Commission (CFE),
has undertaken the implementa-
tion of a “National Inventory of
Renewable Energies” (INER), where
data on Mexico’s renewable energy
potential and the feasible areas to
apply these technologies may be
consulted, all through an updated
database of existing renewable re-
sources. Its estimations account a
Fig. 5. Energy classification current power generation through
for the production of electric power and its energy resources. renewable sources of 39,415 MWh/
year (Figure 6).
INER estimates Mexico’s Renew-
able Energy Potential Generation
(PG) capacity according to the cur-
rent situation of the country’s power
generation, considering technical
constraints of the technologies
themselves, topographical and land
use constraints and environmental
risk and demand constraints in the
exploit, processing capacity and
transmission and resource variability.
The potential is represented by
four levels of certainty (Figure 7):
Resource, Possible, Probable and
Tested, being Tested potential the
one which has a larger number of
Fig. 6. Current Power Output by Renewable Energy (GWh/year).
technical and economic studies to
prove its feasibility.
INER has published studies
regarding Renewable Energy Poten-
tial Electricity Generation, where the
most studied energy source technolo-
gies are Wind, followed by Solar.
Renewable Energy Tested Poten-
tial is mainly in the areas shown in
the Figure 9.
Fig. 7. Certainty Scheme in the GP in Mexico by ER.

68 2 - 2014
Chart 2
Installed capacity
of electricity generation in Mexico 2014

Power plants and Generating units

Power Capacity
Type Units %
Plants (MWh)

Conventional Steam 26 85 11,398.6 29.10

Dual 1 7 2,778.36 7.09

Carboelectric 2 8 2,600.0 6.64

Fig. 8. Tested Potential Generation by ER.
Combined Cycle 13 68 7,566.582 19.32

Geothermoelectrical 7 38 813.4 2.08

Turbogas 30 71 1,530.01 3.91

Internal Combustion 9 58 251.305 0.64

Portable Turbogas - 11 115.40 0.29

Portable Internal
- 19 3.11 0.01

Hydropower 65 180 12,018.778 30.69

Wind 3 106 86.750 0.22

Photovoltaic 2 2 6 0.01

Total S.D.G. 158 653 39,168.295 100

Nuclear 1 2 1,400

Fig. 9. Mexico’s Tested Electricity Total C.F.E. 159 655 40,568.295

Generation Potential Location Areas by ER (INER, 2014). Source: Hydropower Projects Coordination Unit, CFE April 2014.


Although INER does not hold suf- the rule of Porfirio Diaz, to electrify the tive capacity amounts to 12,018.778
ficient information regarding the centre of the country; becoming in MWh concentrated in 180 generat-
hydropower potential, several other those times, the world’s largest hydro ing units and 65 hydroelectric power
sources, mainly CFE, convey the power plant, and has been operating plants, being 21 of them large, and
growing choice of this resource as one uninterrupted for 109 years. Cur- the other 44 small plants (596,278
of the most viable investment and rently, three of the twelve generators MWh) as shown in Chart 2.
abundant in country’s Southeast. installed are currently operative. According to this data, hydropow-
Mexico has a long history in the According to CFE’s recent data, er generation amounts to 30.69%
construction and operation of hy- compiled by its Hydropower Proj- of total electricity generation in the
dropower stations: the Necaxa power ects Coordination Unit (CPH, April country compared with all other
plant was its first built (1905), during 2014), hydropower’s installed effec- sources of electricity generation,

representing the main source of
renewable electricity in Mexico.
In the global context (2013),
China is the country with the largest
hydropower generation with nearly
700 thousand GWh, equivalent to
Latin America’s total generation of
715,000 GWh (2011).
Overall, hydropower technologies
contribute 16.1% to global electricity,
with Brazil and Canada contributing
over 50%, while countries like South
Korea and Germany are below 5%.

Chart 3
Hydro power capacity
by Productive Region, C.F.E.


Fig. 10. Worldwide Electricity Generation Production Nº

Region U´s
Capacity Total
Plant MWh Mwh
through hydropower for selected economies, 2013 (MWh).
Source: Secretariat of Energy, SENER, Renewable Energy Prospective 2013-2027. 1 El Novillo Northern 3 3x45 135

2 Huites Northern 2 2x211 422

Regions of electricity production 3 Bacurato Northern 2 2x46 92

4 Humaya Northern 2 2x45 90

Mexico’s total electricity production considered in these figures,), which 5 Comedero Northern 2 2x50 100
is split into five regions, according to highlight the areas of the Southeast 6 Falcón North-Western 2 3x10,5 31.5
2014 CFE’s data (portable plants not and the West as the most productive.
7 La Amistad North-Western 2 2x33 66

8 Aguamilpa Western 3 3x320 960

9 Agua Prieta Western 2 2x120 240

10 Villita Western 4 4x80 320

11 Infiernillo Western 6 6x200 1,200

12 El Cajón Western 2 2x375 750

13 La Yesca Western 2 2x375 750

14 El Caracol Central 3 3x200 600

15 Zimapán Central 2 2x146 292

16 Peñitas South 4 4x105 420

17 Malpaso South 6 6x180 1,080

18 Chicoasén South 8 8x300 2,400

19 Angostura South 5 5x180 900

20 Temazcal South 6 4x38.5; 2x100 354

Fig. 11. Electricity Generation Regions in Mexico (C.F.E.).
21 Mazatepec South 4 4x55 220
Source: Installed Capacity, CFE, April 2014.

70 2 - 2014
As observed, Mexico has adequate
and properly distributed hydropower
resources, being its potential depen-
dant to the storage capacity of the
reservoirs, which adds up 150 billion
cubic meters (Statistics on Water
in Mexico, Edition 2013 CNA,
SEMARNAT). Such volume depends
on rainfall and runoff in different
regions of the country; with 116
Fig. 12. Hydro Power Plants and Installed Capacity by Productive dams representing almost 79% of the
Region (CFE, April 2014). Source: Installed Capacity, CPH, CFE April 2014. country’s storage capacity.
Hydropower development has a
high return on investment and the
KW/h is generated at competitive
prices, whether for large plants (> 30
MW) and small hydro (<30 MW)
compared to other renewable sources.
Hydrological administrative regions
RHA XI Frontera Sur and IV Balsas
are granted the most important water
commission with 166 billion cubic
meters in 2013 (Figure 13) amounting
the greatest runoff and rainfall figures
of the country and therefore the largest
hydropower plants.
Southeast Mexico holds 35% of
Fig. 13. Average annual volume of water per water administrative water in the country, with an average
region 2011-2018 (hm3/year). Source: Renewable water per capita per water annual runoff of 141.128 hm3/year,
administrative region. Mexico’s Water Statistics 2013. CONAGUA, SEMARNAT.
as well as the greatest rainfall, with
1,846 mm. According to this, Chi-
apas area holds the largest hydropow-
er potential due to natural resource
availability and area topography.

Fig. 14. Average monthly

Rainfall (mm) by water
administrative region 2011-2018.
Source: Normal monthly rainfall
per water administrative region
1971-2000. Mexico’s Water Statistics,

Chart 4 The Grijalva and Usumacinta riv-
Characteristics of the main rivers that shed ers in Chiapas also hold the longest
into the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, ordered by their average natural surface runoff basin river course length (1,521 km),
Nº River Water Admin. Region
Average natural surface Basin Area River Length
Maximum Order representing an average annual natu-
runoff (mill m3/year) (km2) (km)
ral runoff of 115,535,000 m3, the
1 Grijalva-Usumacinta XI Frontera Sur 115,535 83,553 1,521 7
2 Papaloapan X Golfo Centro 42,887 46,517 354 6
largest in the area (Chart 4).
3 Coatzacoalcos X Golfo Centro 28,679 17,369 325 5 According to data from the Min-
4 Pánuco IX Golfo Norte 19,673 84,956 510 7 istry of Economy in its document
5 Tonalá X Golfo Centro 11,389 5,679 82 5 “Global Outlook”, worldwide estima-
6 Tecolutla X Golfo Centro 6,098 7,903 375 5 tions forecast the installed capacity for
7 Bravo VI Río Bravo 5,588 225,242 ND 7 electricity generation from renewable
8 Nautla X Golfo Centro 2,218 2,785 124 4 sources by 2035 as of 3,437 GW,
9 La Antigua X Golfo Centro 2,139 2,827 139 5 which represent 40% of total the
10 Soto La Marina IX Golfo Norte 2,086 21,183 416 6
global electricity system, where water
11 Tuxpan X Golfo Centro 2,072 5,899 150 4
12 Jamapa X Golfo Centro 2,066 4,061 368 4
and wind power will become the main
13 Candelaria XII Península de Yucatán 1,861 13,790 150 4
sources of electricity generation.
14 Cazones X Golfo Centro 1,712 2,688 145 4 In Mexico, the Investment Pro-
15 San Fernando IX Golfo Norte 1,545 17,744 400 5 gram for the Electrical Sector 2012-
16 Hondo XII Península de Yucatán 533 7,614 115 4 2026 (POISE 2012-2026 CFE)
Total 16 246,081 549,810 estimates that by 2026 the installed
Source: Characteristics of the main rivers that empty into the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. capacity for hydroelectric power
Mexico’s Water Statistics 2013. CONAGUA, SEMARNAT.
generation will add up to 4,631 MW
capacity, from which 750 MW will
belong to completed projects, in
construction or tendering and other
3,881 MW will belong to future
tendering projects.
CFE is currently projecting a
hydroelectric dam downstream of La
Angostura’s dam (60 km) in the Gri-
jalva hydrological system (Figure 15),
which will be called “La Angostura II”
with an installed capacity of 105 MW.

Fig. 15. Main rivers of Mexico

and Hydrography of the
Grijalva-Usumacinta system.
Source: Water Challenges in Mexico.
Mexican Academy of Engineering.

72 2 - 2014

It has been observed that the develop- Such was until 1992, when a new promoted the use of this source of
ment of small hydropower- SHP (<30 Electric Service Act that allowed the generation for the Latin America and
MW) has had and still holds great production of electricity by individu- the Caribbean through the Major
momentum in our country, being als for self-supply, small producer or Regional Project on the Use and
advantageous to large plants, as they independent producer. Conservation of Water Resources in
do not require a large investment, A Small Hydropower Plant (SHP) Rural Areas, in which the following
and their environmental impact is re- is defined as one with inferior capacity activities are promoted:
duced, not facing social problems due than 30 MW and can be classified as: 1) Identification of Scientific and
to the loss or modification of habitat • Micro Hydropower Plant, if infe- Technological Research Centres
in areas that would become underwa- rior to 100 KW. 2) Identification of the hydropower
ter in its basin, the flooding of large • Mini Hydropower Plant, if be- potential in smaller communities
areas of its reservoir and the possible tween 100 and 1,000 KW. and
population displacement. • Small Hydropower Plant, if be- 3) Support for the design of ac-
Such projects began in Mexico tween 1 and 30 MW. cessible to the rural community
in the early twentieth century, in the SHP has the advantage of al- centre.
states of Puebla, Veracruz, Chiapas, lowing the continuity of the river The turbine manufacturing in-
Michoacan and Oaxaca, developed without generating area flooding dustry has trended globally towards
by the textile, paper, beer or coffee and turbined energy is generated small load hydropower projects
industries. Since 1960, when Adolfo by the river or circulating flow, and “edge flow” turbines, namely hori-
Lopez Mateos nationalized the electric- can become a good alternative for zontal turbines with low hydraulic
ity industry, 60 mini-hydro plants (<5 rural electrification. But, in order to load and high flow, and is develop-
MW) with a total installed capacity of implement this technology is impor- ing adapting turbines to several flow
75 MW, became operated by CFE and tant to train staff in the operation values and different technologies,
LyF with public purposes. That sus- and maintenance, and also requires materials and experience.
pended the evaluation of the national for hydrological studies to support
Mini-Hydroelectric potential and CFE its functionality during drought or
focused its efforts on building large extreme rainfall periods.
hydropower projects in the Grijalva, UNESCO, in mutual inter-
Balsas and Papaloapan rivers. est with other organizations has

Fig. 16. Small hydropower plant cross-section project in Chiapas.

Small Hydro-power potential

The Federal Electricity Commis- in the states of Mexico, Michoacán Usumacinta River and upstream of
sion (CFE) estimated the generation and Veracruz. In 2012, the Energy the PH Tenosique.
potential of plants under 5 MW to Regulatory Commission granted 32 Small, mini and micro-hydro
3,000 MW. In addition to this, the additional permits with a capacity hydro power generation projects are
National Commission for Energy of 418 MW, generating annually applicable to irrigation districts, and
Saving (CONAE) has detected a 1,599.1 GWh/year. thus help the regional sustainable
400 MW potential in a study of In the Grijalva system, the con- development with reduced social and
small hydro generation in 2006 in struction of low load power plant environmental impacts.
the mountainous regions of Puebla Chicoasén II (240 MW) is being One option for promoting these
and Veracruz. Meanwhile, the assessed, located downstream of the mini-hydro projects is the imple-
Electrical Research Institute (IIE) Manuel Moreno Torres or Chicoasén mentation of development programs
estimated a usable 200 MW small plant (Figure 16). promoted by SENER through institu-
hydro generation potential in irriga- CFE, through its Hydroelectric tions as CONACYT and its financing
tion canals in the country (USAID, Projects Coordination Unit (CPH) schemes, such as SENER-CONA-
Mexico 2010, “Guide for the de- has assessed the feasibility of low load CYT Sectorial Sustainable Energy
velopment of electricity generation projects in the area between Mexico Fund (ESF), which is the instrument
projects in renewable energy in and and Guatemala and in the states of created to promote scientific research
for municipalities”). Chiapas and Tabasco. P. H. Line, P. and applied technology in the areas of
Currently, the installed capacity of H. On Porvenir, P. H. Isla Cayo and energy efficiency, renewable energy,
596,276 MW is distributed among P. H. Yaxchilan projects are being clean technologies and diversification
44 small plants, most of them located designed on the main channel of the of primary energy sources.

74 2 - 2014
The ESF has been applied to hydroelectric plants which include Thus, energy sustainability to re-
projects regarding Geothermal, Solar research institutes participation for duce dependence on oil as a primary
and recently Wind Energy. It is im- the development of this technology. energy source is promoted, together
portant to push forward Hydropower These financings are led exclusive- with directing the development of
through multidisciplinary partner- ly by higher education institutions programs dedicated to renewable
ships such as the Renewable Energy and research centres in the country, energy projects established in the
Mexican Innovation Centres CE- registered in the National Register of National Strategy and its financing
MIE’s partnership, dedicated to the Institutions and Scientific and Tech- instruments, mainly linked to the
research and development of small nological Research (RENIECYT). Kyoto Protocol targets.


As it can be observed, the balance on It must be highlighted that, lated equipment due to its extensive
water and energy matters is crucial growth is dependant on the learning experience in electricity generation
to global development programs curve, which will reduce costs and and supply.
and drives power generation toward will encourage investment in research
using renewable energy. In Mexico, and development. Mexico is con-
hydropower will continue to be the tributing to the development of this
main renewable source, being only industry by adapting its regulatory
necessary to promote its development framework and allocating funding Víctor Javier Bourguett Ortíz
in areas such as: programmes focused on the develop- MSC in Civil Engineering
(Hydraulic Specialty)
1. Technological progress, ment of new technologies. IMTA General Director
2. Cost reduced technology, Mexico has an excellent geo- Instituto Mexicano de Tecnología del Agua
3. Governments’ Promotion of Sus- graphical location and vast potential Ana Alicia Palacios Fonseca
MSC in Civil Engineering
tainable Development, amongst of renewable resources and has the (Hydraulic Specialty)
others. opportunity to manufacture the re- Technical Advisor IMTA General Director

– Desarrollo sustentable y el crecimiento ER. – Principales presas. Atlas digital del Agua en
económico en México. Secretaría de Economía. que_es_conuee/. México 2012. Sistema Nacional de Información – Ley para el aprovechamiento sustentable de la del Agua. CONAGUA. http://www.conagua.
tentable/. Energía (LAERFTE), Cámara de Diputados del
– “Decreto por el que se reforman y adicio- H. Congreso de la Unión. http://www.diputa- – “Los retos del Agua en México”, Marengo M.
nan diversas disposiciones a la Constitución H., Arreguín C. F., Academia de Ingeniería,
política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, en – “Informe de resultados de Ahorro de Energía 2013.
Materia de Energía”, Diario Oficial de la Feder- 2013”, Programa de eficiencia Energética en – Estadísticas del Agua en México, Edición 2013.
ación DOF: 20/12/2013. http://www.dof.gob. la Administración Pública Federal. Comisión CONAGUA, SEMARNAT.
mx/nota_detalle.php?codigo=5327463&fec Nacional para el Uso Eficiente de la Energía, – La primera hidroeléctrica en México. Comisión
ha=20/12/2013/. CONUEE. Federal de Electricidad. 75 Aniversario. http://
– Iniciativas de Leyes secundarias. Presidencia forme_conuee3_resultados_2013.pdf/.
de la República – “Prospectiva de Energías renovables 2013- hidroelectrica-en-mexico/+/.
reformaenergetica/#!leyes-secundarias/. 2027”. Secretaría de Energía. http://sener.gob. – Inventario Nacional de Energías Renovables
– Resumen Ejecutivo, Reforma Energética. mx/res/PE_y_DT/pub/2014/Prospectiva_Ener- (INER), SENER.
Gobierno de la República. http://embamex. gias_Reno_13-2027.pdf/. version2.2/. – “Energías renovables”, Secretaría de Economía, – Estrategia Nacional y nuevo modelo del Sec-
getica.pdf/. 2013. tor. Javier H. Estrada (Julio 2014), SENER.
– Global Environment Fund (GEF). http://www. – “Prospectiva del Sector Eléctrico 2013-2027”, – Fondo de Sustentabilidad Energética (FSE). Secretaría de Energía. Informe Cero. SENER.
– “La Reforma Energética cuida el medio ambi- – Key World Energy Statistics 2013, International – “Guía para el desarrollo de proyectos de gen-
ente” Presidencia de la República. SEMARNAT. Energy Agency. eración de electricidad con energía renovable – Programa de Obras e Inversiones del Sector en y para los municipios”, USAID, México 2010.
energetica-cuida-el-medio-ambiente/. Eléctrico 2007-2016, POISE. Subdirección de Pro-
– Comisión Nacional para el Uso Eficiente de la gramación. Gerencia de Programación de Siste-
Energía, CONUEE, Secretaría de Energía, SEN- mas Eléctricos. Comisión Federal de Electricidad.

and application
of analytical tools in support of
water-energy-food nexus planning
in Latin America and the Caribbean
Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm


Introduction: The WEF Nexus Globally

he interdependency between water, energy without access to electricity worldwide and closing the
and food (WEF) is growing in importance energy gap has implications on water, such as for fuel
as demand for each of these vital resources’ extraction, cooling water, and hydropower.
security increases. Several regions of the world Demand for energy for electricity generation will grow
are already experiencing WEF security challenges, which as population and economic activity expand (Shah et al.,
adversely affect sustainable economic growth. In addition, 2009; Voinov and Cardwell, 2009; WWAP, 2012; Schor-
there is already evidence of the effects of climate change nagel, et al., 2012). Emerging economies like China,
on the availability and demand for water, energy and India, and Brazil will double their energy consumption in
food, especially in fast-growing countries. At the same the next 40 years; by 2050, Africa’s electricity generation
time, scarcity in water, energy or food is caused not only will be 7 times as high as nowadays; in Asia, by 2050,
by physical factors, but there are also social, political and primary energy production will almost double, and elec-
economic issues at play that affect the allocation, avail- tricity generation will more than triple; in Latin America,
ability, and use of these resources. increased production will come from non-conventional
Population and economic growth are expected to oil, thermal, and gas sources and the amount of electricity
increase demand for food, energy, and water. Yet, 783 generated is expected to increase fivefold in the next 40
million and 2.5 billion people remain without water and years and the amount of water needed will triple (World
sanitation, respectively. Stresses such as rapid urbanization Energy Council, 2010).
and climate change are growing on all water uses. Cities Thermoelectric power plants account for 39% of the
in developing countries will face meeting the demand of freshwater withdrawn every year in the US (USGS, 2005;
70 million more people each year over the next 20 years. see Figure 1) and for 43% in Europe (Rubbelke, 2011)
By 2030 we will need 45 percent more water just to meet almost just as much as the agriculture sector. Although
our food needs. Further, over 1.3 billion people are still most of the water is not consumed and is returned to the

76 2 - 2014
water source, these huge amounts evident, these three sectors have his-
of water withdrawn by the power torically been regulated and managed
and food production sectors have an separately; and despite growing con-
impact on the ecosystem and on the cern over these trends, decision makers
water resources of a region. often remain ill-informed about their
As a consequence, there is a press- drivers and ill-equipped to deal with
ing need for integrated planning of possible outcomes. The simultaneous
WEF resource development and use, realization of climate change effects on
to avoid unwanted and unsustain- WEF resources provides a window of
able scenarios in the coming years. opportunity to materialize such inte-
Although the WEF Nexus is fairly grated planning in the LAC region.

The WEF Nexus: Context in the LAC Region

In the region of Latin America and ity, far above the 16 percent (Hoekstra and Mekonnen, 2011)
the Caribbean (LAC), a number of global average, but only 38 varies widely among countries
key interactions illustrate the rel- percent of the region’s potential and there are significant water
evance of the WEF Nexus: hydropower has been tapped. In exchanges within the region.
addition, growing and produc- For instance, Mexico is one of
— Water is needed for food produc- ing bio fuels can require large the major virtual water import-
tion: 90 percent of the region’s amounts of water. ers in the world (91 Gm3/year;
agricultural land is rain-fed. In the — Energy is needed for food produc- Konar et al., 2011). According to
water-constrained Andes, there is tion: This is the least well under- Chapaign and Hoekstra (2004),
sufficient water to produce a diet stood link, but food production, the LAC regional water footprint
of 3,000 kcal with 20 percent harvesting, transport, processing, is 1,136 m3/person/yr. To give
animal products. But changing packaging, and marketing all use an idea of its variability, the
precipitation patterns and grow- up significant energy resources. country water footprints of the
ing demand for food are increasing — Energy is needed for access to following countries are: Argen-
the need for irrigation. Combined water sources: Energy is needed tina (1,404 m3/person/yr), Brazil
with urbanization, this is increas- for desalination (which could (1,381 m3/person/yr), Ecuador
ing pressures on rural landscapes become important mostly in the (1,218 m3/person/yr), Peru (777
and on water supplies. Caribbean), water distribution, m3/person/yr), Mexico (1,441
— Water is needed for energy genera- and irrigation. m3/person/yr), Honduras (778
tion: Hydropower supplies 46 — The LAC region is a net water m3/person/yr), Chile (803 m3/
percent of the region’s electric- exporter: the water footprint person/yr), Colombia (812 m3/
person/yr) and Venezuela (883
Fig. 1. Freshwater Withdrawals
in the United States (USGS 2005). In the growing economies of the
LAC region, the need to understand
the interactions between water,
energy and food is increasing, and in
addition, planning and development
challenges involve land use, urbaniza-
tion, demographics, and environ-
mental protection. These challenges
and complexities can no longer
be addressed in the conventional
way, with each sector taking deci-
sions independently, with separate
regulations, and different goals. The

complexity of the system requires a ize in the near future as well. The unknown and significant resources
more systematic approach taking into potential impacts on water pollution are now being explored in Argentina,
account all the existing interactions of unconventional sources of energy Colombia and Mexico (Inglesby, et.
and dependencies between sectors. As (e.g., shale gas and fracking) are still al., 2012).
shown in Figure 2, although every-
thing is interconnected, water plays
a central role in the Nexus being in
many cases irreplaceable. Therefore, a
better understanding of the interac-
Proposed Research Approach
tions of the Nexus is very important
for smart climate and infrastructure The approach to the WEF Nexus nor- supply as well as wastewater treatment
investment planning to ensure a mally depends on the perspective of require significant amounts of energy.
sustainable future. the policy-maker (Harris, 2002). If a Of course, areas such as food-as-fuels
Neglecting this interdependency water perspective is adopted, then food (i.e., bio fuels) tend to blur these
has not yet had severe adverse ef- and energy systems are users of the re- descriptions (see e.g., Nonhebel, 2005)
fects, but it has already had some source (see e.g., Hellegers and Zilber- due to additional impacts associated
repercussions on the power sector. man, 2008); from a food perspective with land use, land use change and
Power plants have had to shut down energy and water are inputs (see e.g., use of the available biomass resource.
due to the unavailability of water for Mushtaq et al., 2009; UN-DESA, In any case, the perspective taken will
cooling purposes (low flows) or due 2011; Khan and Hanjra, 2009); from affect the policy design. This is due to
to the high temperature of the water. an energy perspective, water as well as the specific priorities of the institu-
Given the current and projected bio resources (e.g., biomass in form of tion or ministry, as well as the data,
levels of growth of many countries energy crops) are generally an input knowledge and analytic breadth of
in the LAC region, we can anticipate or resource requirement and food is the tools of the associated experts and
that these problems can material- generally the output. Food and water support staff.

Fig. 2. The WEF Nexus Framework.

Source: Stockholm
Environment Institute, 2011.

78 2 - 2014
Some of the descriptive elements • All operate in heavily regulated Fig. 3. Nexus schematic with a WEF
of the WEF Nexus that are readily markets. security focus (Bazilian et al., 2011,
identifiable include: • All require the explicit identification Energy Policy 39, 7896–7906).
and treatment of risks.
• All three areas have many billions of
people without access (quantity or Figure 3 presents a schematic
quality or both). of the interactions with a focus on
• All have rapidly growing global security. It is clear that each of the
demand. three ‘‘resource spheres’’ affects the There are very few people (and
• All have resource constraints. other in substantive ways. Ignoring institutions) with expertise and expe-
• All are ‘‘global goods’’ and involve effects in one can have significant rience in all three WEF Nexus areas;
international trade and have global impacts on another. As Lee and El- the IDB has research needs in all
implications. linas (2010) note, ‘‘The anticipated three WEF Nexus areas. This research
• All have different regional avail- bottlenecks and constraints –in en- initiative is the IDB’s first attempt to
ability and variations in supply and ergy, water and other critical natural approach this highly relevant, inno-
demand. resources and infrastructure– are vative and inter-sectorial issue.
• All have strong interdependencies bringing new political and eco- It is worth noting that other
with climate change and the envi- nomic challenges, as well as new multilateral development banks
ronment. and hard-to- manage instabilities.’’ (World Bank, 2013; Asian Develop-
• All have deep security issues as they Thus, the need for a systematic, ment Bank, 2013) have launched
are fundamental to the functioning coordinated planning approach is initiatives to finance WEF Nexus
of society. obvious. analytical work and applications.

Research Objective and Questions
The main objective of the IDB’s proaches and evidence-based opera- as evaluating opportunities to curb
research initiative on the WEF tional tools to assess the economic demand growth without compromis-
Nexus is to contribute to sustainable and social tradeoffs of constraints ing quality of service, thus indicating
management and development of in water, energy and food security priorities for more detailed analysis as
the water, energy and food produc- and their corresponding expansion well as providing characterization of
tion sectors by increasing awareness plans, particularly as constrained by alternative sequences of investment
and capacity on integrated planning climate change. Designed tools may in each sector. Economic tools can be
of Bank investments identifying and focus on upstream sector planning employed to quantify the impact on
evaluating trade-offs and synergies. in order to identify primary op- sector investments and the economy
This is achieved by supporting client portunities and constraints to water, as a whole of economic scarcity of
countries develop innovative ap- energy and food development, as well water, energy and food as indicated
by measures of their opportunity
costs. This will also be an important
step toward improved understand-
ing of economic and social tradeoffs
among competing uses (i.e., water
for energy production versus food
production, industrial and municipal
uses, and environmental benefits of
in situ water). The results of this re-
search thus aim at helping stakehold-
ers move in the direction of integrat-
ed Water-Energy-Food planning and
of prioritization of investments.
This objective will be addressed
through the following research

— What are the synergistic oppor-

tunities and constraints posed by
the mutual interaction and inter-
dependency of water, energy and
food (WEF)?
The proposed analytical tool
development will focus on upstream
sector planning in order to identify
primary opportunities and constraints
to water, energy and food security,
as well as evaluating opportunities
to curb demand growth without
compromising quality of service, thus
indicating priorities for more detailed
analysis as well as providing charac-
terization of alternative sequences of
investment in each sector.

Fig. 4. Aerial view

of the flood-ravaged areas
near Cartagena, Colombia.
© UN Photo/Evan Schneider.

80 2 - 2014
— What are the impacts of the WEF
Nexus interactions on policy and
decision-making, particularly with
respect to development investments?
Economic analysis will be em-
ployed to quantify the impact on sec-
tor investments and the economy as a
whole of economic scarcity of water,
energy and food as indicated by
measures of their opportunity costs.
This will also be an important step
toward improved understanding of
economic and social tradeoffs among
competing uses (i.e., water for energy
production versus food production,
industrial and municipal uses, and tutional procedures in place need to mentation of WEF Nexus planning
environmental benefits of in situ evolve towards integrated planning tools developed in the initial phase
water). The results of this research approaches in order to realize syner- (1.5 to 2 years) of this research: Co-
thus aim at helping stakeholders gies and manage threats identified lombia (Corporación de la Cuenca
move in the direction of integrated through this research. To this end, we del río Magdalena), Peru (Autoridad
Water-Energy-Food planning and of have identified 3 potential “test bed” Nacional del Agua) and Brazil (Agen-
prioritization of investments. applications in the region for imple- cia Pernambucana de Agua e Clima).

— What are the threats and opportu-

nities posed by climate change on
the WEF Nexus in the LAC region?
Although understanding of
Limitations in Existing WEF
climate change impacts on the
water, energy and food sectors has
Nexus Analytical (Modelling) Tools
advanced significantly in recent
years, little research has been done A number of modelling platforms or sub-basin level, when models are
on the impacts of climate change on have been developed to support too general and do not include the
the interacting WEF Nexus. Poten- assessment of energy sector develop- necessary level of detail.
tially, impacts can be compounded ment under different economic and A recent review of existing
or offset each other, posing threats environmental policy conditions, integrated resource assessment and
and opportunities, respectively. The and to support integrated resource modelling literature (Cambridge
proposed research will use climate development in the water sector. The Econometrics, 2010) has shown that
scenarios and projections to identify water models include consideration the analysis of individual systems
and quantify these impacts. of water utilization for hydroelec- (such as energy or water systems) are
tricity expansion versus other uses; undertaken routinely, but are often
— What are the institutional barriers and some energy models include focused only on a single resource or
for the utilization of WEF Nexus calculations of water requirements have often been applied on an ag-
integrated planning tools? for different technology investments. gregated scale for use at regional or
The water, energy and food sec- Typically, however, the models are global levels and, typically, over long
tors are planned today without much designed for different purposes, and time periods. Likewise, the analyti-
integration, e.g., water is allocated linkages between energy and water cal tools used to support decision-
without considering energy con- sector development are limited. making are equally fragmented.
straints, energy generation is planned Moreover, the level of technical Examples of existing tools used for
without much consideration of water detail and complexity in the models energy system analysis include the
sources and costs, and food produc- can preclude their application for MESSAGE, MARKAL and LEAP
tion is planned without considering upstream sector strategy develop- models. A commonly used model for
energy and water requirements for ment, a crucial analytical need in de- water system planning is the Water
the most part. The case needs to be velopment planning. The converse is Evaluation and Planning system
made that planning tools and insti- also true for the needs at river basin (WEAP), and for water scarcity and

food security planning, the Global state/local policy context. Generally,
Policy Dialogue Model (PODIUM) they focus on one resource and ig-
model is well established. nore the interconnections with other
However, these and other models, resources; have overly simplified spa-
in one way or another, lack the data tial representations; are grand policy
and methodological components ‘‘research’’ rather than short term
required to conduct an integrated applied ‘‘policy’’/decision support
policy assessment especially where models, or analyze inviable scenarios
these may be needed in a country/ in the long term.

Proposed Integrated Modelling Approach

An integrated Energy-Water mod- for more integrated planning. Con-
elling system needs to address the sidering the long-term relevance of
shared needs of energy and water the Energy-Water Nexus, it may be
producers, resource managers, regula- deemed necessary to combine both
tors, and decision makers at the fed- strategies; providing an operational
eral, state and local levels. Ideally, the Water-Energy modelling tool in the
system should provide an interactive short term (through harnessing exist-
environment to explore trade-offs, ing models and capacity, implement-
explore potential synergies and evalu- ed in the context of economy-wide
ate alternatives among a broad list of water values and trade-offs), and
energy/water options and objectives. building a more robust and flexible
In particular, the modelling system method over the longer term, with
needs to be flexible in order to facili- greater attention to cross sector link-
tate tailored analyses over different ages and impacts. An approach that
geographical regions and scales (e.g., can build on this existing capability
national, state, county, watershed, should help decision- and policy-
interconnection regions). makers gain the support of stake-
Based on our research, there holders and provide an incentive for
are three possible approaches for system ownership.
developing this system: (i) incorpo-
rate water resources and uses into
existing energy modelling tools; (ii)
incorporate energy production and
uses into existing water resource
modelling frameworks; or (iii) build
a new integrated system. Building on The proposed analytical methodol- as Hejazi et al. (2013) and Kyle et
existing modelling systems may have ogy will be based on an integrative al. (2013).
limitations. The test beds may prove modelling approach able to define This integrative modelling ap-
that existing tools do not adequately potential synergies and constraints proach will be used to carry out the
address the Nexus and, as such, there for the sustainable development of following methodological steps:
may be a need to develop a new sys- water, energy and food planning • Analyze and assess the water bal-
tem. As such, the proposed research and investments. The outcome is ances for each basin, quantifying
will analyze existing tools and their intended to inform policy making at the existing water allocation for en-
adequacy and, if needed, will explore the national level. ergy generation and food produc-
the development of a new, more The modelling approach will be tion, and assess the existing models
flexible Energy-Water modelling based on system dynamics, which handling of basins/regions.
system that accounts for the wider has been implemented in integrated • Analyze the future demand for wa-
contributions and opportunity costs assessment models (IAMs) such as ter, energy and food, and different
of energy and water use, and allows those presented in references such scenarios for WEF supply based on

82 2 - 2014
the existing country strategy and • Identify the basins where potential Fig. 5. A resident of the Tapajós
plans, as well as climate change sce- conflicts might arise in the future National Forest toasted manioc.
narios (as locally available). and quantify potential WEF defi- Tapajós National Forest, Brazil.
• Analyze the future demand for wa- cits. © UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.
ter per basin (including water for • Incorporate climate change impacts
power and water for food produc- on water availability, energy de-
tion) by overlapping existing and mands, and food production out-
future power plants/coal mining/ puts.
shale gas areas, irrigation and pro- • Analyze opportunities to decrease
duction of meat and other food these conflicts, by looking at dif-
products), focusing on those geo- ferent WEF management schemes
graphical areas where the energy and different technologies to reduce
generation and food production water and energy use (such as dry
activities are located. cooling, energy efficiency of waste

stream treatments), and looking at tion of operations that can support electricity subsidies that acceler-
opportunities to curb both energy public sector investments needed for ate aquifer depletion –that in turn
and water demand growth through the proper implementation of WEF lead to greater electricity use and
demand-side actions. Nexus policies in the region. subsidy requirements. The toolkit
• Quantification of costs and benefits The proposed WEF Nexus model- should help harmonize potentially
(through partial or general equi- ling tools should be able to support conflicting policies.
librium frameworks) of different the following capabilities: • Technology assessments: Some tech-
solutions and synergies. • Decision making: A well formulated nology options can affect multiple
• Analyze the impacts of changes in integrated modelling tool would help resources, e.g., nuclear power could
WEF prices/tariffs to the water, en- decision and policy makers assess reduce GHG emissions, reduce the
ergy and food demand and planning. their options in terms of their likely exposure to volatile fossil fuel mar-
effects on the broad Energy-Water kets, but may increase water with-
system. The toolkit should be able to drawals and use. As with other
transparently evaluate the trade-offs policies, the toolkit should allow a
reflected in different options. more inclusive assessment of tech-
Expected Results • Policy assessments: Given limited nological options.
resources, it is important for policy • Scenario development: Another goal
makers to ensure that policies are is to identify consistent scenarios
The results of the proposed research as cost-effective as possible. If mul- of possible socioeconomic develop-
will support IDB country multi-sec- tiple objectives can be achieved ment trajectories with the purpose
tor dialog. In particular, this project by a single policy, it may advance of identifying future development
will generate knowledge (in the development more than policies opportunities as well as of under-
form of analytical tools) that can be focused separately on single objec- standing the implications of differ-
used for policy advice regarding the tives. The toolkit should therefore ent policies. This is important for
integrated planning (management provide a more complete, multi- exploring possible alternative de-
of sources, production and distri- system policy assessment. velopment scenarios and the kinds
bution) of water, energy and food • Facilitating policy harmonization of technology improvements that
resources. The results of this project and integration: There are instances might significantly change develop-
will also contribute to the identifica- of very contradictory policies, e.g., ment trajectories.

Knowledge Dissemination,
Advocacy, and Capacity Building

As this initiative will involve a large a strong need to provide capacity

number of stakeholders such as tech- building support of client countries,
nical experts in countries responsible World Bank and other development
for the design and implementation partner staff on the application of the
of lending instruments, to sector knowledge and tools implemented by
planners, academia, high level policy this initiative.
decision makers, and private sector, The WEF Nexus highlights the
a strategy to keep these audiences interdependencies between different
engaged throughout the process IDB units and the importance of
is imperative. Consultations with integrated planning. Hence, it will
stakeholders, widely disseminating be important to create an interdis-
outputs and sharing knowledge, and ciplinary mentality in the Bank and
developing messages and products to foster cooperation and knowledge
to reach global audiences through sharing between the different units
appropriate communications plat- and departments. This initiative
forms will all be crucial to support will aim to adopt more creative and
this initiative. There will also be cost-efficient approaches to share

84 2 - 2014
knowledge among Bank task teams capacities (ii) in active collaboration
in all regions, as well as with external with relevant government institu-
stakeholders in client countries and tions in order to facilitate sustainable
development partners. Audience- implementation and uptake in water
appropriate mechanisms will be and energy infrastructure planning.
used to share this information, such Moreover, the team will work only
as: i) web-based social media tools; with countries where there is a clear
ii) interactive web-based tools; iii) interest demand from the govern-
learning events/workshops/meetings; ment and the Bank’s management in
and iv) cooperation with other global the energy sector and at the national
learning platforms. level. In a second phase, the dissemi-
Client ownership is crucial to nation strategy will aim to broaden
ensure the success of the flagship. the platform of implementation of the
The team will work closely with the modelling tool in other countries by
client governments and with the pri- encouraging exchanges between cli-
vate sector in each country, engaging ent countries within the context of a
them from the onset. To ensure that community of practice.
the client governments will continue
using the tools once the project is
completed, the implementation will Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm
be done (i) using existing model- Advisor/Lead Specialist
ling and institutional structures and Inter-American Development Bank

– Asian Development Bank, 2013, Thinking oil: Framing the opportunities and risks”, en – Shah T., Gulati A., Hemant P., Shreedhar G. and
about water differently: managing the Water, McKinsey on Sustainability and Resource Pro- R.C. Jain, 2009, “Secret of Gujarat’s Agrarian
Energy and Food Nexus. ductivity, Summer 2012. Miracle after 2000”, en Economic and Political
– Bazilian et al., 2011, Considering the Energy, – Khan, S., Hanjra, M.A., 2009, “Footprints of water Weekly, XLIV 52, pp. 45-55.
Water and Food Nexus: Towards an integrated and energy inputs in food production - Global – Schornagel, Joost, Frank Niele, Ernst Worrell,
modelling approach, Energy Policy 39, 7896-7906. perspectives”, en Food Policy 34, 130-140. and Maike Boggermann, 2012, “Water account-
– Cambridge Econometrics (CE) and Sustain- – Konar, Dalin, Suweis, Hanasaki, Rinaldo ing for (agro) industrial operations and its ap-
able Europe Research Institute (SERI), 2010, A and Rodriguez-Iturbe, 2011, “Water for plication to energy pathways”, en Resources,
Scoping Study on the Macroeconomic View of food: the global virtual water trade net- Conservation and Recycling 61 (2012) 1-15.
Sustainability – Final Report for the European work”, en Water Resources Research 47, – Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), 2011,
Commission, DG Environment. doi:10.1029/2010WR010307. “Understanding the Nexus”, en Bonn 2011
– Chapaingn A.K., A.Y. Hoekstra, 2004, “Water – Kyle, P., E. Davies, J. Dooley, S. Smith, L.E. Clark, Nexus Conference The Water, Energy and Food
Footprint and Nations”, en Value of Water Re- Clarke, J.A. Edmonds, and M. Hejazi, 2013, “In- Security Nexus, Solutions for the Green Economy
search Report, Nº 16, UNESCO-IHE. fluence of climate change mitigation technol- 16-18 November 2011.
– Harris, G., 2002, Energy, Water, and Food Sce- ogy on global demands of water for electricity – United States Geological Service (USGS), 2005,
narios. Best Partners. generation”, en International Journal of Green- Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2005.
– Hejazi, M., J.A. Edmonds, L. Clarke, P. Kyle, house Gas Control 13, 112-123. – UN-DESA, 2011, World Economic and Social
E. Davies, V. Chaturvedi, M. Wise, P. Patel, – Lee, B., Ellinas, L., 2010, “Water and energy Survey, New York.
J. Eom, K. Calvin, R. Moss, and S. Kim, 2013, security in tackling the world water crisis: – Voinov, Alexey and Hal Cardwell, 2009, “The
Long-term global water projections using six reshaping the future of foreign policy”, en The Energy-Water Nexus: Why Should We Care?”,
socioeconomic scenarios in an integrated as- Foreign Policy Centre and Nestle. en Universities Council on Water Resources Jour-
sessment modeling framework, Technol. Fore- – Mushtaq, S., Maraseni, T.N., Maroulis, J., Hafeez, nal of Contemporary Water Research & Educa-
cast. Soc. Change, M., 2009, “Energy and water tradeoffs in en- tion 143, pp. 17-29, December 2009.
techfore.2013.05.006/. hancing food security: a selective international – World Bank, 2013, Thirsty Energy, Water Papers,
– Hellegers, P., Zilberman, D., 2008, “Interactions assessment”, en Energy Policy 37, 3635-3644. Water Partnership Program.
between water, energy, food and environ- – Nonhebel, S., 2005, “Renewable energy and – World Energy Council, 2010, Water for Energy,
ment: evolving perspectives and policy issues” food supply: will there be enough land?”, en London, UK: World Energy Council.
en Water Policy 10 (S1), 1-10. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 9, – World Water Assessment Program (WWAP),
– Hoekstra and Mekonnen, 2011, “The water 191-201. 2012, The United Nations World Water Develop-
footpringt of humanity”, en Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. – Rubbelke, 2011, “Impacts of climate change on ment Report 4, Paris, UNESCO.
109(9), 3232-3237. European critical infrastructures: The case of
– Inglesby, Tommy, Robert Jenks, Scott Nyquist, the power sector,” Rubbelke, D. and S. Vogele,
and Dickon Pinner, 2012, “Shale gas and tight en Environ. Sci. Policy, vol. 14, pp. 53-63, 2011.

The role of water in the
Spanish energy system
Medium-term prospects (2030)
César Lanza

política hidráulica
política energética


s in most European countries, Spain is under- Matching apparently disparate topics in appearance,
going a conversion in its energy system affect- water is located in the core of this process of deep change
ing almost whatever is relevant in this context: of the energy system and complex evolution. Although it
supply, demand, regulation, politics and eco- must be said, that more attention should be addressed to
nomics. Such is not new. Moreover, as the panorama of this role. This paper synthesizes facts and insights which,
the two main sectors comprising the world’s energy busi- in the author’s opinion, stakeholders should bear in mind
ness (electricity and fuel) have changed very significantly while thinking out the important role which water as a
in Spain over the last decades, in coincidence with the resource plays in the transformation of the energy sector
democratic period and the economic modernization that and the opportunities that this implies.
the country has experienced. But the process of change
is speedier due to diverse facts and with consequences
difficult to predict. Regarding electricity, apart from the “There is a need to change course in a dramatic way.
obvious changes of the last decade in power plant and Gradual change will not be enough to change the track
other related equipment, as a result of its growth and ad- we are following.”
aptation to climate change conditions (decarbonization
Dr. Fatih Birol
and arousal of renewable sources), the most important Chief Economist
changes are taking place almost continuously at the regu- Director of Global Energy Economics
latory level. As for the gas sector, almost irrelevant three International Energy Agency

decades ago, its development has been spectacular so far

and although the current situation shows signs of uncer-
tainty, it may be feasible for Spain to exploit in the near Spain is a medium sized country on the global scope
future fossil fuel unconventional reservoirs (shale gas and and, regarding energy, shares with much of its partners
other varieties). As it is well known, apart from the fore- in the European Union an issue which impacts largely
going opportunity, such entails risks not to be ignored. its policy in this field: its heavy reliance on fossil fuels,

86 2 - 2014
especially oil. Oil and natural gas issues, international relations, pros-
are the fuels that dominate the pri- perity and conflict. The deeds that
mary energy balance (65%) and to a pave the way of energy are so many,
very large extent must be imported. diverse and of such gravitas that can
Only recently, the development of hardly be accounted, let alone under-
renewable energy, despite its bad stood or presented with a feasible line
planning and chaotic regulatory of thought, in such a short article.
framework, has been capable to And in such vast context, which is
provide some degree of self-sufficiency water’s role? In order to answer this
(12%) to the national energy de- question about the supposedly candid
mand. The importance of energy Water-Energy Nexus, a brief overview
issues has overridden the scope of its of Spain’s energy system should be
technical and economical aspects, presented. Together with this, the driv-
coming to stand with notoriety ers on its futures trends on the scope
within the political discussion. of this article; short –term horizons
Addressing energy policy com- (2020) and medium term (2030) will
prises market, regulation, domestic be below presented.

The Spanish energy system: Key Features

The total primary energy demand in demand since the year 2008. sumer prices almost doubled in
Spain currently stands at around Indeed, the demand figures of the 2003-2012 period.
33,000 ktoe/year, with a medium 2013 are similar to 2005, which – However, the growth in installed
self-sufficiency level of 26% for implies stagnation due to the capacity has been extraordi-
all sources. The latter value varies general economic crisis, possibly narily high (+67%, 41,000 MW),
considerably, ranging from 100% aggravated by the increase in which is representative of a very
which holds hydraulic, renewable prices of electricity supply. It is unbalanced and abnormal devel-
and nuclear energy, to coal’s 16%, worth recalling that final con- opment of the electricity sector.
oil’s 0.3% and 0.1% gas. The latter
fuel is most dependent from abroad, Chart 1
although its supply chain may be a) Electrical generation
considered safe and balanced. Year 2013 Year 2003 Δ 2003-2013
From the perspective relevant to Installed power capacity 102,281 MW 61,223 MW +67%
this article, which is none other than Installed Hydro- power capacity 19,822 MW 18,153 MW +9%
the Water-Energy Nexus, the two WTG+PV+TS Installed capacity 29,484 MW 5,638 MW +423%
major Spanish energy system pillars NGCC Installed capacity 25,353 MW 4,394 MW +476%
are the electricity and gas sectors, the Net Total Generation 260,160 GWh 235,684 GWh +10%
former biased to the end, and partly Hydro- power Generation 41,300 GWh 43,706 GWh -5%
the latter. The tables below feature WTG+PV+TS Generation 66,462 GWh 12,815 GWh +419%
the most important data which define NGCC Generation 25,409 GWh 14,990 GWh +70%
the current state and trends of both Data corresponding to Spain’s inland system.

sectors in the last years from an aggre- Legend: WTG, Wind Turbine Generator; PV, Photovoltaic; TS, Thermo-Solar; NGCC, Natural Gas Combined Cycle.

gate point of view (Charts 1 and 2).

Some observations that can be Chart 2
inferred from the above data: (b) Gas sector
Year 2013 Year 2005 Δ 2005-2013
– The growth of electricity pro- Natural Gas Demand 28.5 bcm 32.1 bcm -11,3%

duction over the last 10 years has Gas distribution & supply Network 81,188 km 55,230 km +47%

been very low (+10% in total), End user 7,470,000 6,040,000 +23,7%

result of a recessive domestic Home Production 0.03 bcm 0.3 bcm -90%

Fig. 1. The large installed capac- natural gas comes from NGCC, demand for gas has been 333,400
ity of currently inactive Natural Gas which does not include the quota GWh (28.7 bcm) industry re-
Combined-Cycle Plants (NGCC) is one corresponding to cogeneration). maining the main consumer, with
of the most immediate drawbacks for – There is a sound overcapacity 64% of the total, followed by the
the development of new hydroelectric in Spain’s electrical system. The domestic - commercial sector and
projects in Spain. peak hourly demand in recent NGCC power generation, with
years peaked 44,800 MWh 17% in both cases.
– The most significant event of the (December, 2007), while gross – The evolution of the past years
decade 2003-2013 in terms of installed capacity is 2.3 times that has enhanced the importance of
power and energy is undoubtedly value. The firm power, however, the industrial sector as recipient
the extraordinary growth of RES is smaller and its coverage factor of the gas supply in the Spanish
(Renewable Energy Sources). reads 1.6 (still quite high). market. In brief, the domestic
– NGCC generation type assets are – The gas consumption of the and commercial sector represents
currently much underused (utili- conventional market (consisting 17% of the demand for natural
zation factor ≈ 1,000 hours/year of industry and house and com- gas, industry adds up to 64%,
2013). This is certainly relevant mercial sector) is currently stable, electricity generation holds 17%
given the interdependence of the but NGCC power plants have and non-energy use 2%.
electric and gas sectors (about lowered their consumption. Dur- – In terms of security in 2013,
20% of the current demand for ing the last year, the domestic Spain has been supplied with nat-

88 2 - 2014
Factors which define
the energy system’s transition in Spain
The energy sector, especially elec- will of legislators towards a change
tricity and gas have experienced in of model based on the principles of
recent years major changes in their open competition for certain activi-
business structure, physical plant ties (liberalization) and the promotion
and regulatory model. The starting of sustainable energy (renewable
point in each case corresponds to energy policy). In Spain, this led to
the need to adapt both sectors to the the 54/1997 Electricity Sector Act
regulations that the European Union and 34/1998 Hydrocarbons Sector
has developed for a so-called “EU Act, the both of which landmark
internal energy market”. This prior- separating stages in the history of
ity is the result of a previous process our energy policy along the last
which began in the 90s, the “liberal- three and a half decades. Structural
ural gas from 11 different coun- ization” of certain activities in both reform of the electricity and gas
tries, among which the main sup- the fields of electricity and in natu- markets, along with the emergence
plier is Algeria, with 51% of total ral gas sectors. It is worth recall- of renewable energy (and its effects
supply, France (12%), Nigeria ing that, the economic integration on the electric and gas systems, are
(10%) Gulf countries (11.6%), of Spain in Europe stepped up in undoubtedly the most remarkable
Trinidad and Tobago (6%), Peru regulatory terms as from year 1992 facts of the immediate past which
(4.5%) and Norway (3.6%). (Maastricht Treaty which redefined influence the current setting).
– The domestic production of gas the European Community into the Currently, these two sectors are
is irrelevant in terms (0.1% of European Union), while consider- subject to structural changes rather
supply). Industrial exploitation able political impetus was given to than minor regulatory adjustments.
of unconventional hydrocarbons the member countries’ objective of This is due, in part, to internal
(shale gas and others) deposits has economic and monetary harmoniza- reasons (supply-demand imbalances
not yet begun in Spain. A first as- tion. While this has not delivered a and high system costs covered in the
sessment of technically exploitable common European Energy policy, electricity sector; infrastructure over-
reserves amounts to of 2,000 bcm, the 1995 White Paper and follow- capacity and still uncertain develop-
which corresponds approximately ing Directives concerning common ment prospects on unconventional
to 65 years’ current gas consump- rules for the electricity (1996) and gas reservoirs). But the changes also
tion. These figures should be hydrocarbon markets (1998) were respond to other global or specifically
taken with caution in any case. milestones which pointed out the European external circumstances

such as policies promoting progres-
sive decarbonization in power genera-
tion and the impact of information
technologies on energy grids. These
issues entangle into a complex web
of incentives, causes and effects that
feedback each other with not always
predictable effects on businesses,
consumers and governments. That is
why experts speak of a “new energy
paradigm” that would affect not only
the technical aspect of energy activi-
ties leading them towards a cleaner
sustainable, but structurally differ-
Short and Medium-term
ent model. The traditional model of Prospects for hydropower
utility, settled for decades, is doomed
to an identity crisis which may ques-
tion its raison d’être as a result of the The share of hydropower in the is in operation an equivalent capacity
entry of alternative business models, Spanish electrical system remains of 35,000 GWh/year. Therefore there
not only on generation (distributed stable throughout the last years is still a significant remaining poten-
generation), but also in the activities (almost flat evolution of installed tial, if given timely conditions and
of networks and even consumption. capacity) and is quantitatively de- interest in developing it.
New concepts like the prosumer creasing its importance in relation to In all EU, hydropower heads re-
(producer-consumer or proactive other sources, especially Renewable newable energy sources and technol-
consumer), manageable demand, Energy Sources, RES (wind, pho- ogies. Its contribution towards total
and smart grid will impact the future tovoltaic and solar thermal, specifi- electricity generation is around 16%
trends in the electricity sector. cally), also referred as clean energy. on average and is considered that
As for the gas sector, the most At the end of year 2013, Spain’s so far, EU has only developed 45%
influencing factor in its future is the hydropower installed capacity in the of its technical, environmental and
potential development or exploita- mainland was 19,822 MW (count- economically feasible potential. But,
tion of so-called unconventional gas ing all types of facilities) which due to its maturity and other circum-
reservoirs, shale gas deposits and represents approximately 19% of stances, authorities’, investors’ and
other forms of hydrocarbons that the electricity system as a whole, technology community’s interest in
can be found in gas state or even whereas the same indicator in year hydropower has faded away in favour
liquid. Regarding the latter, Spain is 1975 read over 47%. In the last four of other alternatives. The interest
yet to have a reliable known volume decades hydropower has suffered in hydropower as an energy storage
of its reserves and their known loca- a relative reduction in its share of system has most recently rekindled
tion. This knowledge affects deeply around 30 percentage points. In due to the problem of integration
to predict the impact of this poten- terms of energy output, which can of irregular sources such as wind
tial energy water use on each basin’s vary widely from one year to an- primarily and solar. Hydropower
water resources. Difficulties brought other due to rainfall, the mean result generation in Europe is currently
up by regional Governments and evolution has been quite similar. around 340,000 GWh/year, with
municipalities to prospecting have The reasons for the above fact are an average annual growth of 1%.
delayed this assessment compared many and can not be simplified in the Our country currently ranks fourth
to other neighbouring countries. hackneyed argument of the exhaus- hydroelectric installed capacity after
Therefore, until the surveys are not tion of profitable hydraulic potential. Norway, France and Italy, and ninth
properly conducted, any figures will It is true that the most profitable in energy output.
be premature and provisional, sub- hydropower uses in most basins The outlook for hydroelectric
ject to uncertainty and bias, which and hydraulic systems have already generation differs in each country,
makes them useless for planning. been incorporated into the hydro depending essentially on its poten-
This does not mean, however, that assets. But the total profitable produc- tial for developing EU-28 features a
such facts and factors should not ible that could be developed in Spain’s remaining 380,000 GWh, which is
be considered as sooner or later be mainland is estimated1 at around a very significant figure. Hydropower
taken into account. 70,000 GWh/year, from which now has evolved from being the dominant

90 2 - 2014
source in the 70s to form a minor-
ity energy source but is unanimously
considered to be the highest quality
energy source to the electrical system
(efficiency, flexibility, cleanliness and
low variable cost). Despite this, its
relative share has declined in recent
decades in relation to the production
of thermal energy units (conven-
tional and nuclear) in most countries
except Norway, which heads installed
capacity and production (non- EU).
According to Eurelectric,2 its outlook
for the short term (2020) is a mod-
erate increase in installed capacity
(+7%) and somewhat less than half
in terms of energy output (+3%).
In any case, it is estimated that in
most countries, without exception,
hydropower should be maintained
as part of a balanced and flexible
mix. In fact, hydropower installa-
tions remain the backbone of power
plant grids. The share rate ranges
across countries from 15 to 25% in
installed capacity and is somewhat
lower in energy output (13%-20%),
a variable depending on the specifics
of the country’s hydrology, vary- electric development in comparison Fig. 2. Electricity grids (transmission
ing from year to year. Globally, the with any other generation technolo- and distribution) and especially smart
country in which is expected upcom- gies that may be considered to fulfil grid technology play a crucial role in
ing further growth in hydropower such demand. the evolution of the electrical system.
throughout the next years, is Turkey Leaving aside demand evolu-
(non EU at the moment). tion which depends essentially on the
In Spain, the possibilities for economic cycle and focusing on Regarding new developments,
developing new hydropower proj- the preference which investors may hydropower projects, in general are
ects or refurbishing old ones is have on hydropower in contrast not usually the most competitive in
limited according to experts due to to other facilities and generation the first two criteria, possibly being
the reasons set forth below. First it technologies (especially those that the most significant to investors its
should be noted that, according to can be considered equivalent in tax burden. Even in cases where it
Spain’s electricity system regulations polluting emissions), the following could be competitive (compared to
and legal framework, new projects aspects must be taken into account PV, for example), the bulky hydro tax
development falls exclusively on in comparative terms: user fee (Article 122a Spanish Water
business. The decision to invest in Act), now hinders any installation’s
hydropower new developments solely – CAPEX (investment, including profitability with output > 50 MW.
relies on the business strategy of each the cost of capital). Therefore, taking into account the
company. In that sense, the prospects – Delivery and predictability (from current regulatory framework and
for development or improvement are the investment decision until the market situation, the likelihood of
conditioned primarily by two factors: entry into operation of the facility). firms developing new hydropower
(1) the evolution of electricity de- – OPEX (operating and mainte- projects appears limited.
mand and system’s installed capacity nance costs). The above drawbacks are consider-
to match it, on the date envisaged – Other variable costs (fuel, emis- ably mitigated in case of the upgrad-
above horizon (year 2030); and (2) sion allowances etc.). ing, improvement or refurbishing
the relative merit of any new hydro- – Taxation. developments currently operative if

such are possible. In such cases, the
limiting factors for investment in hy-
dropower capacity become significant-
ly moderated and this, together with
its highly positive values of this type of
generation in other respects, convert
such projects in a potentially attractive
option for investors, usually companies
who already hold hydropower assets.
The actions undertaken in Spain in
recent years (Belesar, San Pedro, San
Esteban, La Muela) and others that
planned or pending approval, are
examples to this.
Special mention deserves SHP -
Small hydropower (≤ 50 MW) and
micro Hydropower SHP (≤ 10 MW).
Such plants are user’s fee (22% of
energy sales income), hold the dif-
ficulty of finding new profitable sites
to be developed within an acceptable
timeframe SHP suffers environmen-
talist opposition, which places them
at a disadvantage compared to other
renewable energy sources, particu-
larly wind and PV, subject to a now
extinct incentives scheme. In fact,
over the last 10 years only SHP’s 600
MW have been installed in Spain,
all of which were assigned to micro
hydro power, whereas wind genera-
tion has increased in 18,000 MW
and PV in 4,000 MW. Such figures
concur with the former statement.
Finally, the problems and pros-
pects of hydraulic energy storage,
Fig. 3. Water-Energy Nexus features i.e. its role, and even probably in the
high impact aspects, as metaphorically future, the role of reversible hydro-
shown in this picture. power stations equipped with pump-
ing units/turbines, and their ability
to store energy reserves as potential
energy into the electrical system, are
to be assessed. The baseline situation
in Spain is sufficiently known: existing
RHS are owned by power genera-
tors and serve essentially two func-
tions: valley peak/price arbitration
by temporary energy shifting, and on
the other, contributing to the energy
demand according to electricity grid
operator designs. Both functions
are developed together with some
other technologies, among which are
hydropower and NGCC.

92 2 - 2014
Water’s role in the exploitation
of unconventional hydrocarbons reservoirs

Water plays several important roles the cooling of thermal power plants Within the hydrocarbons sector
in the field of energy, all of which hold whole others aspects not to be (oil and gas), a global growth on wa-
help strengthening the link be- ignored. Two issues in this regard are, ter management services and relat-
tween both. Regarding water uses as on one hand, improved efficiency ed technologies is expected, according
energy resource, the most notable is in the industrial use of water, which to market analysts at an annual rate of
undoubtedly associated with hydro- affects the modernization of refrig- 6%.4 This fact highlights the increas-
power, may it be through electricity eration and effluent treatment and ing economic interest for energy uses
generation or its storage as energy secondly, the effect of disturbances or of water in the sectors considered,
potential production of electrical, irregularities that may cause climate probably due to the sound develop-
both of which have been mentioned change on the hydrology of the ment of the shale gas industry and
earlier. In addition to these, several country and therefore on ensuring other varieties of gaseous and liquid
other functions are to be considered. availability of water volumes needed hydrocarbons located in unconven-
These following functions are cur- in thermal generation. It is in any tional gas reservoirs, susceptible of
rently or may become significant in case, a well-established energy use profitable operation. Water industrial
the medium term on the industrial of water on which major changes and energy uses globally add up to,
sector: (1) the use of water as cool- are not expected in the time horizon according to industry expert estima-
ant in the thermodynamic cycles of covering this article. Contrary to tions an annual economic revenue
thermal and nuclear power plants, this, the exploitation of shale gas and around 85,000 million USD. Water
which in Spain comprise an installed other unconventional oil reservoirs shortage has moved up in the world’s
capacity of 55,234 MW, or 54% of operations requiring or fracking pro- leaders declared priorities, as pre-
generation, and an annual output cesses are still nonexistent, although sented in World Economic Forum’s
of 162,220 GWh 66% of the whole reasonably likely, prospects for such Davos meetings. Thus, during the last
country;3 and (2) the use of water activity will start soon. At the mo- three years (2012-2014) water prob-
resources in the processes related to ment, any forecasts may only rely lems have occupied one of the top
the exploitation of unconventional on expert’s estimations, and through three concerns of the world leaders.
oil reservoirs (shale gas and others). them, the water demand for such Economic activities directly related
The latter may occur when the ex- processes is to be defined together to water (not only with their energy
ploitation of existing reserves begins with the treatments necessary due uses) accounts for a global market of
in Spain, likely in the short term, before reintegrating such water to the 550,000 USD million a year, with a
if our country follows path what is environment. The issue of fracking steady growth rate of 3.5%, over the
happening elsewhere. processes is certainly controversial, past years. This gives an idea of the im-
Of the two subjects identified, but nevertheless should not be over- portance of the value chain organized
the first is an ongoing reality and looked as sooner or later, the latter around the water resource.
although it is a rather limited con- will be taken into consideration by Global water shortages (60% of
sumptive use of water, the truth is the water authority and its use regu- fresh water is concentrated within
that the demands associated with lated and planned accordingly. six countries) are magnified as a

result of regulatory and technical surveys are not properly conducted, Apart from the regulatory issue,
inefficiency in water management in any figures will be premature and it is interesting to know in light of
several countries. But also, and this provisional, subject to uncertainty the information currently available
affects new energy uses, the detrac- and bias, which makes them useless what can be expected of shale gas in
tion of significant volumes to the for planning. This does not mean regards to water and the influence
hydrological cycle seems inevitable however that such facts and factors which their exploitation may affect
if US’s model of exploitation of un- should not be considered, as sooner water policy, water basin planning
conventional oil reservoirs becomes or later be taken into account. and water resource management. Let
the standard all around the globe. Act 17/2013, regarding the us note the fact that the most attrac-
Consider Russia or China, where supply security and competition tive reserves seem to be located in the
reserves are potentially more impor- increase for Spain’s electrical system, regions of Cantabria, Basque Country
tant than those currently exploited in solved the regulatory loophole that and Castilla y León and affect the
North America and which are usually Act 34/1998, regarding hydrocar- corresponding basins of rivers Ebro
located in arid areas. If International bon’s sectors, could not. Because of and Duero. Prospects are currently
Energy Agency’s5 estimates are cor- this, last year regional regulations being carried out in the provinces of
rect, the volume of US’s shale gas from Cantabria, Rioja, and Na- Burgos (137,000 ha.), Alava (140,000
deposits are just under 10% of the varra prohibiting the prospecting ha.), Cantabria and some others, in
reserves estimated in the 10 coun- and exploitation of any shale gas or contrast with Europe’s reserves are
tries with the highest abundance of other hydrocarbons unconventional estimated in 25,000 Bcm (Billion
the resource. In the case of oil (do reservoirs located in their respec- cubic metres), Spain’s exploitable shale
not forget that there are also non- tive territories. Act 17/2013 makes gas reserves, according to ACIEP,6 add
conventional liquid hydrocarbons) exclusive to the national government, up to 2,000 Bcm. 70% of such figure
reserves in the U.S. comprises about any regulation regarding prospecting would be located in the Southern side
15% of the top ten countries with and exploitation, concurrent to the of the Cantabrical mountain range
most reserves. constitutional’s state competence of and Western Pyrenees. Regarding this,
Spain does not have a reliable Spanish Act. Act 17/2013 states that, a new assessment on shale gas deposits
estimate of the volume of these notwithstanding subsequent regula- location and volume has been pre-
reserves and its exact location. Such tory developments, European law sented by the Spanish Mining Engi-
data has a critical impact on wa- provides the appropriate legal frame- neers’ Council.7 The volume of water
ter’s demands for such activity and work for environmental protection required per well and fracking site
how this demand may affect water in relation to such aspect, and both varies in a very wide range (10,000 -
resources in their respective basins. regional and local governments are 20,000 m3) if the data obtained from
Difficulties brought up by regional hindered its capacity to regulate this the U.S. sites may be extrapolated
Governments and municipalities to matter. Act 21/2013 on environmen- to the European sites. This demand
prospecting have delayed this assess- tal assessment includes these projects should be borne in mind in the future
ment compared to other neighbour- as required to undergo standard evolution of the Water-Energy Nexus
ing countries. Therefore, until the environmental assessment. in the coming years.

94 2 - 2014
Summary and conclusions
Water plays several important roles
in the field of energy, all of which
help strengthening the link be-
tween both. Regarding water uses as
energy resource, the most notable is
undoubtedly associated with hydro-
power, may it be through electricity
generation or its storage as energy
potential production of electrical,
both of which have been mentioned
earlier. But in addition to these, sever- However, unlike the above uses, creation may seem less obvious today
al other functions are to be consid- this uses face a much less favourable than before, they deliver a sound
ered which are related to world most support or even opposition to the potential of social welfare.
important energy sectors, electricity exploitation of water resources for It may be appropriate to re-
and hydrocarbons. From an indus- energy production. Being the clean- call here some wise words of that
trial perspective, a relevant function est source within the different power brilliant humanist and hydraulic
is the use of water as coolant in the production technologies throughout engineer who was Juan Benet. In
thermodynamic cycles of thermal an overall assessment, hydropower a lecture at the Spanish Centre for
and nuclear power plants, main has increasingly become a target for Hydrographical Studies in 1981, he
share of the systems’ energy output. the most warring fronts of environ- declared: “… (regarding the water
In a near future, the use of water mental activism. Without attempt- sector) today’s luxury was yesterday’s
resources in the processes related to ing here the delegitimization of such wit and will be tomorrows’ ordi-
the exploitation of unconventional attitudes, in this issue environmen- nary”. It is precisely the awareness of
oil reservoirs (shale gas and others) talism mistakes its conservationist society on the value of water, which
is to be considered in future water reserves. Such is a complex problem, should help to recover the particular
demand management. On these with underlying prejudices of the spirit and way of working in this
grounds, the energy perspective on current society, in contrast with his area, not only banishing vulgarity
water is crucial for the good running benevolence towards other renew- but inaction as an ideological refer-
of Spain’s energy system and exten- able energy sources and technologies, ence on hydraulic thought.
sively, to Spain’s welfare. which in an overall assessment are
From a water policy perspec- much less impact-free than normally
tive and its relative action by public considered. Public authorities and
authorities, water uses in the fields regulators should ensure the balance of
of energy require similar care to that the potential drawbacks of the use César Lanza
provided to supply the population of water with its advantages, not just Registered Civil Engineers
Member of the Technical Committee on Water,
(full cycle) and to the coverage of ag- in the short term but in the medium Energy and Environment
ricultural and environmental needs. term, and focus on a concept of value Spanish Institution of Civil Engineers

1. Such estimation was developed by CEDEX 3. Data extracted from El sistema eléctrico nacio- convencionales en España, ACIEP: Asociación
and according to our knowledge shuld be nal - 2013, Red Eléctrica de España, 2014. Española de Compañías de Investigación,
reviewed as it does not adequately reflect 4. Water for Onshore Oil and Gas, Global Water Exploración y Producción de Hidrocarburos y
hydropower retribtution in the energy mar- Intelligence, 2014. Almacenamiento Subterráneo, 2013.
ket, energy major dealers and compensation 5. World Energy Outlook 2013, International En- 7. Gas no convencional en España, una oportuni-
system fees. ergy Agency, 2014. dad de futuro, Consejo Superior de Colegios
2. Hydro in Europe: Powering Renewables, Eur- 6. Evaluación preliminar de los recursos prospec- de Ingenieros de Minas, 2013.
electric, 2012. tivos de hidrocarburos convencionales y no

Frank Hamill and Angelos Findikakis

water storage
energy storage
energy Stability
Cooling systems

he two major uses of water for energy use of water is a major concern. Technology is called
production are for hydropower generation on to contribute to solutions that would minimize
and the cooling of thermal power stations. these impacts while optimizing the efficiency of energy
Major challenges in both these uses are production. Two major trends in the last few decades
their potential ecological and other environmental and are the increasing use of water as a means of indirect
socioeconomic impacts. In areas of limited water re- energy storage through the construction of pumped
sources and increasing competition for their use driven storage hydro projects, and the reduction of water used
by population and economic growth the consumptive for cooling per unit energy produced.

Conventional Hydroelectric Power

Conventional hydropower development in the United storage reservoirs, there will be significant opportunities
States has been limited in recent years to relatively small for both conventional and pumped storage hydro in
and run-of-river schemes due to the fact that most of conjunction with them.
the best suited large hydro sites are already developed. Other hydro development in the United States has
Moreover, there is often environmental opposition to mainly centered on upgrading existing generating units
new large reservoirs that makes the development process and adding hydro generation to dams that have no power
a long and arduous one. Nevertheless, water storage in plants. Recent developments in the design of hydraulic
the western United States continues to be of conside- turbines have made it possible to increase efficiency and
rable interest, particularly in view of the present severe reliability while reducing operating costs and extending
drought. Should California elect to construct new useful operating lives.

96 2 - 2014
Fig. 1. Red Rock Dam. Pella, Iowa.

Although conventional storage trol and power factor correction, peak hours. Only pumped storage
hydropower is capable of following it cannot assist with taking surplus hydro can accomplish that to avoid
load, supplying spinning reserve, renewable energy (mainly wind) that curtailment ([1], [2]).
and assisting with frequency con- occurs in many grid systems in off-

Pumped Storage Hydro

Utilities define a generating resource superimposed on it, that occurs for accommodating rapid load changes
as “dispatchable” if it is available to only a few hours per day. For reasons due to the thermal conditions of
meet load at any time. Resources of economy and efficiency, genera- steam generators and turbines.
which are limited by conditions ting resources are usually dispatched By contrast, hydro units are
such as streamflow, wind velocity in the order of increasing cost of pro- inherently capable of accommoda-
and solar radiation are considered duction. The lowest cost resources are ting quite rapid load changes with
non-dispatchable. Thus, thermal first in line and tend to be assigned only very modest efficiency penalties.
based generation and storage hydro to the base load, and the highest cost Normally, such load changes are
are considered dispatchable, while resources are the last to be dispatched constrained only by environmental
run-of-river hydro, wind and solar and cover the peaks. Non dispatcha- regulations and other non-hydro-
generation are not. ble resources are utilized when they power uses of the water. Thus, hydro
The typical load profile of the are available and economical. units are very flexible from a dispatch
electrical grid in developed countries, Certain types of generating viewpoint [2].
which includes both industrial and resources are efficient only at full Pumped storage hydro has been
domestic loads, displays strong diur- load output. These include both developed as a practical grid-scale
nal variations. Large peak loads tend large nuclear generating units and energy storage technology [3] by
to occur during the day, while late large-scale fossil fueled thermal units. pumping water from a lower re-
night loads tend to be much smaller. These types of resources fit base load servoir to a higher one during the
These conditions are described as a conditions best, and are usually thus off-peak hours and allowing it to
base load, that is expected to exist dispatched. Moreover, these large flow back down from the upper to
24 hours per day, and a peak load thermal resources are not capable of the lower reservoir passing through

sources have been moved away from
regulated investor-owned electric
utilities and into the hands of inde-
pendent generating entities who sell
their output to the utilities (or state
agencies) in an auction context. The
intent of this approach is to minimi-
ze the cost of energy to the consumer
through open competition [7].
Independent solar and wind
generators have entered this market
in large numbers in recent years. This
has complicated the operation of
electrical grid systems since neither
wind nor solar resources are fully
Solar generation takes place only
in the daylight hours. In addition
such generation is necessarily curtai-
led in inclement weather. Although
the daylight hours tend to coincide
with the peak load hours (excepting
Fig. 2. USACE Kinzua Dam downriver. energy such as wind, solar, or tidal very early mornings and late evenings
@ Margaret Luzier. generation, pumped storage offers a when solar radiation is limited, but
means to store energy produced in loads are at their maximum), cloudy
off-peak times that could not have and rainy weather tend to be predic-
been used otherwise. table only in the short term. From a
Pumped storage technology dispatch view, some backup is often
has evolved significantly since the required, even though large solar
first application of the concept in plants tend to be sited in desert areas.
the 1890s and the introduction of Of course, distributed photovoltaic
reversible pump turbines and the use solar panels on rooftops are subject to
turbines to generate electricity during of a single machine as both motor the vagaries of local weather [5].
peak load hours. In this case, the and generator in the 1930s. Today’s Wind generation is very erra-
stored water in the upper reservoir technology is largely based on the use tic, even in areas with normally
represents stored energy [4]. of reversible pump-turbines directly high winds. There are variations
When used in conjunction with connected to generator-motors [6]. in wind output which, in the ag-
conventional thermal power stations, Modern pumped storage units are ca- gregate, amount to very significant
the benefit of using pumped storage pable of operating at an efficiency of up and down ramps. In this way,
is derived from the price differen- between 75 and 80 percent over the wind generation may be taken to
tial, between off-peak and on-peak pumping and generating cycle. The resemble negative loads on the grid.
energy. When that price differential development of variable speed units Something, somewhere, needs to be
is large enough, it becomes possible which can operate at peak efficiency able to follow these “load” changes so
to use pumped storage hydropower over a larger load range than fixed as to stabilize the grid and maintain
facilities to store off-peak energy for speed units has made it practical and tight frequency control [5].
use in on-peak hours. This results efficient to deal with intermittent Large electrical grids include a
in a sort of energy arbitrage, which power sources, such as wind and large quantity of rotating machinery
can be cost effective and beneficial solar. The increasing addition of new among their generating resources
to the electricity consumer [5] and units of such forms of renewable and their loads. Most generators
permits large base load resources, energy production creates the pro- and many motors are synchronized
such as nuclear and large fossil plants blem of balancing the grid, to which to the electrical frequency so that
to operate at their optimum loads at pumped storage offers a solution. load changes are resisted initially by
all times of the day. Used in con- In much of the United States (e.g. the rotating inertia of the machines
junction with renewable forms of California), thermal generating re- themselves. In effect, the grid acts

98 2 - 2014
like an enormous rotating flywheel.
Thus, small load changes tend to
be absorbed in the short run by the
inertia of the system. When changes
become large enough to affect the ro-
tating speed of the entire system to a
perceptible extent, governing mecha-
nisms must come into play to match
power produced from the prime mo-
vers to power required by the load.
Thus, if a large load is connected to
the system, one or more generating
units must increase output to prevent
the whole system from slowing
down. Similarly, if a large load is dis-
connected, generation must decrease
to match, or the system will speed
up. Complex governing systems have
been developed to balance loads with
resources in such a manner as to hold
frequency variations to tiny fractions
of one Hz. This balancing depends
on the connected prime movers generating unit trips off line due to Fig. 3. USACE pumped storage Seneca.
having available unused capacity, i.e. a mechanical or electrical fault. This
@ Margaret Luzier.
they are not operated at “full thrott- is accomplished by having a certain
le”. In addition, these units must be amount of “spinning reserve,” or
capable of accommodating relatively generating capacity connected to
rapid changes in load without dama- the grid but carrying only a mini-
ge or severe loss of efficiency. Such mum load. Such units stand ready to
units are dispatched with the specific spring to the aid of the grid quickly.
intent of being able to “follow load”. Some hydro units are ideal in this
In large grid systems that produce use. Most such units have an optimal
power mainly from large thermal and operating point that is somewhat tion turbine generators and similar
hydro sources, the generation is con- less than the maximum capacity of flexible units as the use of fossil fuel
trollable and mostly predictable. The the unit. Thus, hydro units normally fired generation (even the use of na-
hydro plants can follow load changes have a built-in capability for “over- tural gas) continues to be discouraged
fairly quickly, as can certain types of load” under abnormal conditions, ([7], [8], [9]).
thermal generation – most notably which means that there is a certain Pumped storage plants also offer
small and moderately-sized oil or gas- amount of spinning reserve inherent ancillary services, which the Federal
fired combustion turbine generators in most hydro plants [3]. Energy Regulatory Commission
and engine driven equipment. Large As older large thermal and nuclear (FERC) of the United States defi-
high temperature steam generators units are retired, and renewable resou- nes as: “those services necessary to
can accommodate load changes only rces such as wind and solar generation support the transmission of electric
quite slowly (over many hours) and replace them in a grid, the balancing power from seller to purchaser given
at high cost. of loads and resources becomes more the obligations of control areas and
Relatively predictable large scale complex and unpredictable. At the transmitting utilities within those
load changes, such as the daily tran- same time, the historical arbitrage va- control areas to maintain reliable
sition from off-peak to peak condi- lue of pumped storage hydro has been operations of the interconnected
tions, are accommodated by bringing diminished by significant increases transmission system.”[10]. FERC has
large generating resources on line in in the production costs of large-scale identified six such services: schedu-
advance, and loading them as the fossil and nuclear power. Neverthe- ling and dispatch, reactive power and
grid load increases. It is also necessary less, the services offered by pumped voltage control, loss compensation,
to be able to tolerate unexpected lar- storage plants are needed to supplant load following, system protection,
ge load changes, such as when a large similar services sourced from combus- and energy imbalance.

Pumped storage hydro units are emphasis on battery systems that can ting the mandated 14 percent of total
ideally suited for providing load be located close to load centers, so generation from renewable sources,
following services, and, since they far, no such technology that could and a high wind scenario reflecting
comprise heavy rotating machinery, be applied at a large scale has been some 33 percent renewables based on
they automatically contribute to the developed. Thus, pumped storage hy- the Western Wind and Solar Integra-
inertial stability of the grid [3]. dro remains the only technically and tion Study, Phase 2.
It is worth noting that as much economically feasible energy storage This study looked at existing
renewable generation depends on alternative. fixed-speed pumped storage units
electronic inverters (DC to AC) and Approximately 22,000 MW of and planned advanced adjustable-
contribute nothing to system inertia, pumped storage hydro capacity have speed units. The conclusion drawn
the value of rotating inertia to fre- been built and operated in the United was that the three currently planned
quency control is increasing [3]. States over the last 25 years. These new pumped storage plants in the
The importance of a strong inter- facilities have been able to deliver grid western United States (Iowa Hill,
connected transmission system can- stabilization services such as frequen- Eagle Mountain, and Swan Lake
not be overemphasized. With greatly cy regulation, spinning reserve, non- North) that are expected to be of the
increasing reliance on wind and solar spinning reserve and fast ramping for adjustable speed technology, will be
generation, and the growth of wind load following, as well as the inherent economically and financially feasi-
farms and centralized solar stations benefits of rotating inertia [3]. ble, and, coupled with the existing
in remote areas, strong transmission A comprehensive modeling study units, will provide much-needed
links are necessary to reliably serve of the impacts of pumped storage hy- services to the grids in the region.
electrical loads that are distant from dro on the interconnected grids com- The adjustable speed units have the
the generators. Similarly, pumped prising the Western Interconnection important advantage of adjustability
storage hydro plants must be located in the United States and Canada was of electrical load and water flow rate
where site conditions are favorable, published in June 2014 by the Ar- in the pumping mode. Conventional
and this is usually at some distance gonne National Laboratory under the fixed speed pump-turbines are either
from electrical load centers. sponsorship of the US Department operated at full load in pumping,
Energy storage is becoming of Energy [5]. The study modeled or are shut down. Thus, adjustable
necessary in a grid to be able to the expected conditions of 2022, as speed units are able to provide load
manage varying loads and varying planned by the Western Electricity balancing services in both generating
generating resources. Despite a great Coordinating Council. Two cases of and pumping modes [11].
deal of research devoted to various renewable generation capacity were The study found, as others have,
types of energy storage, with a heavy modeled: a baseline scenario reflec- that without storage facilities in the

100 2 - 2014
grid, renewables (mainly wind) will the services were modeled, and the Fig. 4. Distribution
be expected to produce power well plants were shown to be attractive of wind-power generation (blue),
in excess of off-peak nighttime load for development in both the base insolation (gold),
requirements (see Figure 4). This and the high wind scenarios. and power demand (red)
will require curtailment, i.e. shut- There is one additional potential around the day illustrated through
ting down generating resources that application for large scale pumped the superposition of 30 days of data
could otherwise produce power [1]. storage in some grid systems. This is from April 2010 obtained from
Since renewable generation requires where there is the potential for tidal the Bonneville Power Administration
no fuel, the operating cost of energy power development, such as at the
of the U. S. Department of Energy.
production is near zero. That means Bay of Fundy in North America, and
Color-highlighted black lines
that curtailment becomes pure waste in the Severn Estuary in the United
represent average values. (reproduced
of a resource. If that surplus power Kingdom. Although tidal power is
with permission from Reference [1].
were to be used to pump water, it very predictable, since it follows a lu-
could be used to meet peak loads on nar cycle, it is not very dispatchable.
the following day, much as pum- Pumped storage could be used to ba-
ped storage plants were originally lance a grid that has tidal power in its
designed to do in the mid-20th generating portfolio. Tidal power has
century. In addition, the plants will had only very limited development
supply the needed ancillary services to date, but there are tidal lagoon
to stabilize the grid and provide for schemes in the conceptual stage in
unexpected events. The values of all several locations.

Water for Cooling
Most electric power is generated in dissipated through the cooling water.
thermoelectric power plants, which For example, the consumptive use in
account for over 80 percent of all once-through cooling systems for nu-
electrical generation worldwide [12], clear plants is about 400 gal/MWhe,
and for about 90 percent of genera- for fossil fuel is 180 gal/MWhe and
tion in the United States [13]. Typical for natural gas combined cycle plants
thermoelectric units use a heat source is 100 gal/MWhe [15].
(fossil fuel, nuclear fuel, or solar ener- Power plants with once-through
gy) to produce high-pressure steam cooling systems are located either
that passes through turbines driving next to relatively large rivers or lakes
electric generators. The majority of typically using freshwater, or along
thermoelectric plants circulate water the coast, using seawater. Power
through heat exchangers to help plants in inland dry climates use
condense the exhaust steam from the closed-loop cooling systems. In some
turbines. For example, in the United cases water-related constraints, such
States only 1 percent of electric power as low flows, high water temperatures
generation capacity uses dry air coo- or other environmental concerns,
ling, while the rest depends on water have caused disruptions in electric
for cooling [14]. generation and/or have been the sub-
Water cooling systems are either ject of permitting challenges ([15],
once-through, in which the water [16]). Recognizing the water availabi-
leaving the heat exchangers is retur- lity and environmental constraints of
ned back to its source at a higher once-through cooling systems, in the
temperature, or closed-loop (recircu- 1970’s the industry started shifting
lating), in which the water from the towards closed-loop cooling systems.
heat exchangers is cooled and reused. This shift led to a progressive decrea-
Closed-loop systems include cooling se in the average water use per unit
ponds, and/or wet cooling towers, energy produced.
where the hot water is brought to the In the United States the use of ment mortality and entrainment are
top of the tower and is cooled by the once-through cooling systems in new selected and implemented if certain
ambient air as it is let flow down- power plants does not seem feasible conditions exist where the cooling
wards. In these systems a portion since the introduction of the Clean water intake is located.
of the water is lost to evaporation. Water Act rule 316b by the US The final regulation issued in
Water consumption in these sys- Environmental Protection Agency May 2014 requires that new units at
tems is between 180 and 1,200 gal/ [17]. The intention of this rule is to existing facilities either reduce actual
MWh (0.7 to 5.3 m3/MWh). Once- prevent the removal by cooling water intake flow, at a minimum, to a level
through cooling systems withdraw withdrawal of aquatic organisms, commensurate with that which can
very large volumes of water, of the including fish, larvae and eggs, crus- be attained by the use of a closed-cy-
order of 7,500 to 60,000 gal/MWh taceans, shellfish, sea turtles, marine cle recirculating system, or demons-
(28 to 227 m3/MWh), depending mammals and other aquatic life. trate technological or other control
on the type of power plant [15]. Under rule 316b new facilities measures for each intake at the new
The consumptive water use in these must ensure that their cooling water unit achieve a prescribed reduction
systems, however, is of the order of intake flow is at a level commen- in entrainment mortality of all stages
one percent of the withdrawn water, surate with that achievable with a of fish and shellfish that pass through
or less, in the range of 100 to 400 closed cycle recirculating systems, a sieve with a maximum opening
gal/MWh (~0.4 to 1.5 m3/MWh). through screen intake velocity is less dimension of 0.56 inches [18].
In coal-fired plants part of the waste than or equal to 0.5 feet per second, Because of the high water volu-
heat is lost through the stack which meet location and capacity based me used in once-through cooling
means that, in general, less water is limits on proportional intake flow systems the total quantity of water
needed than in nuclear power plants and that design and construction te- withdrawals for thermoelectric
where practically all the waste heat is chnologies for minimizing impinge- power generation is high. For exam-

102 2 - 2014
ple, in the United States in 2005 proposed plants in the United States Fig. 5. Plant Scherer,
thermoelectric power generation are within 25 miles from a source of a coal power plant in Georgia,
accounted for 41 percent of all fres- secondary treated wastewater [22]. uses a closed loop cooling
hwater withdrawals [19]. In 1995 Research is under way to address that removes significantly
the average consumptive use for all some of the issues associated with less water than a
thermoelectric power plants in the the use of treated wastewater, such as one-step system.
United States was about 2 percent of biofouling, scaling and corrosion.
the water withdrawals [20]. In addition, the industry is adop-
A potential solution for power ting increasingly more air cooling
plants located near cities in areas with and wet/dry hybrid cooling systems.
limited water resources is the use These systems are particularly attrac-
of treated municipal wastewater for tive for concentrated solar electricity
cooling. A database of power plants facilities, which otherwise would re-
using treated wastewater developed in quire between 0.75 and 0.9 gal/kWh Research and development in di-
2007 identified 57 such facilities [21]. that is not available at most premium fferent areas help reduce water use for
Among them the largest and one of solar energy locations. Use of such power generation. Advances in me-
the first to use municipal reclaimed systems can reduce water use by 80 tering technology make it possible to
wastewater for cooling is the Palo to 90%. To achieve this reduction in know the quantity and quality of the
Verde nuclear power plant in Arizona, water use the industry pays a penalty water used in different parts of a plant
which uses 55 Mgd (76 Mm3/yr) of increased electricity production at any time, and to optimize water use
of tertiary treated water. It has been cost of the order of 2 to 10%, depen- and reuse. Recovery of the moisture
estimated that three quarters of all ding on the location of the plant and lost through power plant stacks and
existing power plants and nearly all several other factors [23]. cooling tower plumes and the use

of heat absorptive nanoparticles to Georgia Power in collaboration with
enhance the heat advection by the the Electric Power Research Institute
cooling water are examples of research to explore and study best practices for
projects at a new Water Research Cen- sustainable water management in the
ter that was established recently by power industry [24].

Water Consumption by Hydro Power

Even though there is no water con- estimates did not account for water
sumption in the process of power level fluctuations which affect the
generation, as all the water passing water surface exposed to evaporation.
through the turbines is available for Thus, the statistics quoted generally
other uses downstream, concerns and overestimate net evaporation losses
restrictions on the rate, timing and from reservoirs. The reported evapo-
water quality of flow releases downs- ration losses from the reservoirs of
tream of such plants may impact hydroelectric projects can be much
the amount and schedule of energy greater than the water consumption
production. It has been argued that at thermoelectric power stations
storage hydroelectric plants in effect with similar generation capacity. For
consume large quantities of water, example, it has been estimated that
because of evaporation losses in their the Vogtle Nuclear Units 1 and 2 in
Fig. 6. Hoover Dam
storage reservoirs. A recent study of Georgia with an installed capacity of
releasing stored water
evaporation losses in 35 reservoirs 2,865 MWe and closed-loop cooling
for other uses downstream.
constructed exclusively for hydro- system (cooling towers) use on the
power generation concluded that average 43.2 Mgd, i.e. a little under
these losses were strongly correlated 60 Mm3/yr [27]. The average evapo-
with the ratio of the average reservoir ration losses from the reservoir of the
area over the installed capacity of the Yacyretá hydroelectric project along
power plant. They also depend on the border of Argentina and Para-
the local climatic conditions. Esti- guay with a similar installed capacity
mated evaporation losses per unit (2,700 MW) have been estimated to
energy produced spanned a range of be 3,280 Mm3/yr [25]. It should be
more than three orders of magnitude noted that the consumptive water use
from about 0.3 to over 800 gal/kWh of these two power stations represents
(about 0.001 to a little over 3 m3/ about the same percentage of availa-
kWh)[25]. In the United States, a ble resources in each case, i.e. of the
state-by-state estimate of consump- order of one percent of the annual
tive water use in the form of evapo- flow of the Savannah River for Vogtle
ration losses from reservoirs serving and one percent of the mean annual
hydropower showed that it is range flow of the Paraná River for Yacyre-
from about 2 to 154 gal/kWh (0.008 tá. In the many reservoirs that serve
to 0.583 m3/kWh) [26]. It should be other purposes besides hydropower
noted that the estimated evaporation not all evaporation losses should be
losses from reservoirs reported gene- viewed as “consumptive water use”
rally did not account for evaporation for hydroelectric energy production.
and evapotranspiration losses from
vegetation and soil in the reservoir
area that existed prior to the cons- Frank Hamill
truction of the reservoir, although Bechtel Infrastructure, Inc.
some account was made for river Angelos Findikakis
evaporation. In addition the reported Bechtel Nuclear, Security and Environment, Inc.

104 2 - 2014
[1]. Barnhart, Charles J., Michael Dale, Adam R. Storage Development,” NHA Pumped Stor- [19]. Kenny, J.F., Barber, N.L., Hutson, S.S., Linsey,
Brandt, and Sally M. Benson, “The energetic age Development Council, 2012. K.S., Lovelace, J.K., and Maupin, M.A., (2009)
implications of curtailing versus storing so- [10]. U. S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commis- Estimated use of water in the United States
lar- and wind-generated electricity,” Energy sion 1995, Promoting Wholesale Competi- in 2005, U.S. Geological Survey Circular
and Environmental science, 2013, 6, 2804. tion Through Open Access Non-discrim- 1344, 52 pp.
[2]. Schmitt, Eric, Vice President Operations, inatory Transmission Services by Public [20]. Solley, W.B., Pierce, R.R., and Perlman, H.A.
California Independent System Opera- Utilities, Docket RM95-8-000, Washington (1998) Estimated use of water in the United
tor, Presentation to Panel 2: “Integrating DC, 29 March 1995. States in 1995: U.S. Geological Survey Cir-
Water and Energy Operations, Policy and [11]. Henry, Jean Marc, Frederic Maurer, Jean- cular 1200, 71 pp.
Planning: Lessons Learned and Remaining Louis Drommi, Thierry Sautereau, “Con- [21]. Veil, J.A. (2007) Use of Reclaimed Water
Challenges,” U. S. Department of Energy verting to Variable Speed at a Pumped for Power Plant Cooling, ANL/EVS/R07-3,
Quadrennial Energy Review Stakeholder Storage Plant,”, 1 Sep- Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Il-
Meeting #4, The Water-Energy Nexus, San tember 2013. linois.
Francisco, 19 June 2014. [12]. IEA, Key World Energy Statistics, Interna- [22]. Vidic, R.D. Dzombak; M.K. Hsieh; H. Li; S.H.
[3]. Williams, Geisha, Executive Vice President, tional Energy Agency, available at http:// Chien; Y. Feng; I. Chowdhury; and J. Mon-
Electric Operations, Pacific Gas and Elec- nell (2009) Reuse of Treated Internal or
tric Company, Presentation before U. S. tions/publication/name,31287,en.html. External Wastewaters in the Cooling Sys-
Department of Energy Quadrennial En- [13]. USEIA, Summary Electricity Statistics 1999- tems of Coal-Based Thermoelectric Power
ergy Review Task Force on Electric Trans- 2010, United States Energy Information Ad- Plants, University of Pittsburgh.
mission, Storage and Distribution – West, ministration, 2012, available at http://www. [23]. USDOE (2009) Concentrating Solar Power
11 July 2014. Commercial Application Study: Reducing
[4]. Energy Storage Association, “Pumped Hy- [14]. NETL, Estimating Freshwater Needs to Water Consumption of Concentrating So-
droelectric Storage,”, Meet Future Thermoelectric Generation lar Power Electricity Generation, Report to
2014. Requirements 2010 Update, National En- Congress, U.S. Department of Energy.
[5]. Koritarov, Vladimir, et. al., Argonne Nation- ergy Technology Laboratory, DOE/NETL- [24]. Weisel, J. (2012) Water in Plants: New Cen-
al Laboratory, Siemens PTI, Energy Exem- 400/2010/1339. September 30, 2010, ter and Research Focus on a Finite Re-
plar, MWH Americas, National Renewable available at source. EPRI Journal, Spring 2012, pp 10-13.
Energy Laboratory, “Modeling and Analysis ergy-analyses/pubs/2010_Water_Needs_ [25]. Mekonnen, M. M. and A. Y. Hoekstra (2012)
of Value of Advanced Pumped Storage Analysis.pdf/. The blue water footprint of electricity from
Hydropower in the United States,” ANL/ [15]. USDOE, Energy Demands on Water Re- hydropower, Hydrology and Earth System
DIS-14/7, June 2014. sources, Report to Congress on the Inter- Sciences, 16, pp. 179-187.
[6]. Fayolle, Daniel, and Sylvain Lafon, “Variable dependency of Energy and Water, U.S. [26]. Torcellini, P., N. Long, and R. Judkoff (2003)
speed applied to hydroelectric schemes: Department of Energy, December 2006. Consumptive Water Use for U.S. Power
history of a technology and today’s state of [16]. EPRI, Water Resource Trends and Impli- Production, NREL/TP-550-33905, National
the art,” Ljubljana, 2008, Power Consulting cations for the Electric Power Industry, Renewable Energy Laboratory, Boulder,
Associates, S.A.R.L. Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, Colorado.
[7]. California Independent System Operator, California, December 2010. [27]. USNRC (2008) Generic Environmental Im-
“What the Duck Curve Tells Us About Man- [17]. Ng, K and Wan, P., “Water Management pact Statement for License Renewal of
aging a Green Grid,” Flexible Resources to Challenges in Power Generation”, Proceed- Nuclear Plants, NUREG- 1437, Supplement
Help Renewables, Fast Facts,, 22 ings of the 21st International Conference 34 Regarding Vogtle Electric Generating
October 2013. on Nuclear Engineering, July 29-August 2, Plant, Units 1 and 2 Final Report, published:
[8]. Eagle Crest Energy Company, “White Paper 2013, Chengdu, China. December 2008.
on Removing Federal Barriers to Grid-Scale [18]. USEPA, Final Regulations to Establish Re-
Energy Storage,” 28 November 2011. quirements for Cooling Water Intake Struc-
[9]. National Hydropower Association, “Chal- tures at Existing Facilities, Office of Water,
lenges and Opportunities for New Pumped EPA-821-F-14-001, May 2014.