Water-Energy Nexus

The interdependencies between water and energy, the water-energy nexus, is becoming more prominent. Water is used in all phases of energy production and energy is required to extract, convey, and deliver water. Yet, several trends are adding stress to the water-energy nexus, namely climate change and population growth. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Water-Energy Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities report, power generation and agriculture-related are the largest users of water in the U.S. However, water withdrawals have been steadily decreasing due to a number of factors, predominantly reduced supplies, while growth in the two fore-mentioned sectors have been steadily increasing.

To address this intersection between supply and demand will require new and innovative solutions. In this regard, the DOE points to several recommendations, to include advances in cooling systems, alternatives to freshwater in unconventional oil and gas, desalination and nontraditional waters, efficient equipment and appliances, net-zero wastewater treatment, and recovery of dissipated energy. Refer to the full report for more information on these, as well as additional measures. The DOE also has a plethora of useful information (e.g., reports, studies, infographics, etc.) related to the water-energy nexus. For more information visit their website.