water & energy 22.03.2014
Water and energy are closely interlinked and interdependent. Energy generation and transmission requires utilization of water resources, particularly for hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy sources. Recent interest in biofuels also creates an incremental demand on water resources; the latest World Water Development Report (2012) predicts that even a nominal increase in biofuel demand (say 5% of road transport by 2030, as predicted by International Energy Agency) could push up the water demand by as much as 20% of the water used for agriculture worldwide. Additionally, biofuel production is linked to increases in water pollution through increased used of fertilizers and agricultural chemicals. Conversely, about 8% of the global energy generation is used for pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers. Co-production of water and energy, as is the case for geothermal energy generation, offers interesting opportunities to energyand water-scarce countries.
One may, therefore, argue that reflecting the interlinkages between water and energy should be given adequate attention in the new and emerging agenda around the so-called Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 development dialogue. This could also be linked to the design of a climate resilient and robust green economy, as noted in the Section III of the Rio+20 outcome document “The Future We Want.” With industries being major water and energy consumers, a green economy will be contingent to the greening of the industrial sector and resource efficient, cleaner production. A particular emphasis has to be placed on increasing the water use efficiency in energy production – essentially producing more kWh per drop of water. This would require a policy environment in which economic and social incentives are offered to promote water use efficiency and protect freshwater ecosystems.
Source: World Water Day 2014
water & energy 22.03.2014
Facts and figures
The Facts and Figures in this section are drawn from the upcoming edition of the World Water Development Report on Water and Energy that will be published in March 2014 and launched on the occasion of World Water Day celebrations in Tokyo, Japan.
Hydroelectricity is currently the largest renewable source for power generation in the world. Hydropower’s share in total electricity generation is expected to remain around 16% through 2035.
Hydropower and water use
Most of the water used for hydropower generation is returned to the river though some is consumed (reservoir evaporation) and there are important impacts on timing and quality of streamflows.
Industrial water use
Roughly 75% of all industrial water withdrawals are used for energy production.
For developing countries alone $103 billion per year are required to finance water, sanitation and wastewater treatment through 2015.
Energy for water
Energy is required for two components of water provision: pumping and treatment (before and after use).
Waterborne transit is one of the most energy efficient. Inland towing barges are more than 3 times more energy efficient than road trucks and 40% more efficient than rail.
Biogas produced from sewage
In Stockholm, public buses, waste collection trucks and taxis run on biogas produced from sewage treatment plants.
Access to water and sanitation
In 2011, 768 million people did not use an improved source of drinkingwater and 2.5 billion people did not use improved sanitation.
Access to electricity
More than 1.3 billion people still lack access to electricity, and roughly 2.6 billion use solid fuels (mainly biomass) for cooking.
Wind power is the most sustainable source of renewable energy, mainly because of its low greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption.