Freshwater management is a major challenge for society, especially in developing economies, which is further accentuated by the impacts of climate change. Hydropower infrastructure has the ability to store water, setting it apart from other renewable technologies.
Hydropower’s storage capabilities also enable it to provide solutions to increasingly frequent extreme weather events, such as droughts and flooding.
Hydropower's role in freshwater management is often considered through the lens of the water-energy nexus. This 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.
Hydropower sits at the heart of this nexus, using water as its fuel to generate electricity while in many cases making water available for other needs such as irrigation, navigation, recreation and drinking water supply.
As awareness of the water-energy nexus grows, the hydropower sector has an imperative to build understanding internally as well as with external stakeholders on how hydropower uses water as well as the contributions hydropower makes to managing water scarcity and other water management services.
Our work on water and energy
IHA has been a leading voice on the water-energy nexus, promoting awareness of the multiple water and energy services provided by hydropower. We have also been an advocate for establishing a sound evidence base on hydropower’s water footprint.
We participate in several knowledge finding initiatives in these areas in partnership with institutions such as the World Water Council (WWC), the World Energy Council (WEC), UN-Water, UNU-Flores and IEA Hydro.
We are continuing our work with WWC on the Evaluation Framework for Energy Impacts on Water (W4EF) and Multipurpose Water uses of Hydropower Reservoirs. We are seeking members to volunteer for case studies trialling the methodology for the W4EF initiative, which is led by EDF. If you would like to get involved, please get in touch.
Latest associated content
The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is embarking on an ambitious new strategy and work plan to support socially and environmentally responsible hydropower projects.Type:News postDate:22 September 2017
Hydropower continues to be a catalyst for growth around the world as it remains the dominant form of renewable energy, having contributed over 16 per cent of the globe’s electricity production in 2016.Type:Blog postDate:27 June 2017
Global declines in water storage are increasingly troubling. With greater hydrological variability due to climate change, more storage will be vital to provide the same level of security of water, food and energy.Type:Blog postDate:8 June 2017
The 2017 World Hydropower Congress took place on 9–11 May in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.Type:Blog postDate:31 May 2017
IHA participated in the second biennial Dresden Nexus Conference (DNC) on 17-19 May. The conference brings together researchers and implementers to discuss the closely linked issues of water, soil and waste.Type:Blog postDate:31 May 2017