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Water and energy

The water and energy sectors are increasingly interdependent and important to each other. We are working to increase understanding of the 'water–energy nexus'.

The nexus refers to the relationship between the impact on water in the supply of energy, and the amount of energy needed to collect, clean, move, store and dispose of water.

In the wider energy sector, water is used all the way from sourcing through to production. So, as well as helping to extract different fuels from the earth (including oil, gas, biofuels, uranium, etc), water plays an important role in energy production and conversion, refining, storage, and transportation.

Globally, the demand for energy and water services is growing. Because of this the need for non-transitional sources is increasing. Other issues, such as feedstock availability, climate change and land use complicate individual water and energy aspects. 

Hydropower has a role to play for both the water and energy sectors: 

  • On the water side, hydropower can contribute to local integrated water resources management, large-scale water storage and reduce the risk of droughts and floods
  • On the energy side, hydropower provides renewable energy services that are low in greenhouse gas emissions and water use. Hydropower can also serve as a back-up to other more volatile sources of electricity

We represent the hydropower sector in two key initiatives relevant to this topic. We participate in the steering committee and contribute to activities of the World Water Council and World Energy Council W4EF: Framework for Evaluation and Reporting of the Energy Impacts on Water; and also the ‘Multipurpose Water Uses of Hydropower Reservoirs’ initiative, led by the World Water Council and EDF.

We also stay close to developments by monitoring progress on water policies relevant to hydropower, water footprint methodologies, life-cycle analyses and other initiatives, and act on behalf of the sector.