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
María Isabel Gómez Ochoa is sustainable development manager at Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) in Colombia. In this interview, she discusses the company's approach to climate change, and how hydropower can contribute to manaType:Blog postDate:29 July 2015
Sami Khan, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, attended the 2015 World Hydropower Congress in May as the winner of the IHA Young Researcher of the Year award.Type:Blog postDate:13 July 2015
At 2015 World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, the International Hydropower Association is joining with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Institute for Integrated Management of Material FluxeType:Blog postDate:3 July 2015
The 2015 World Hydropower Congress took place on 19–21 May in Beijing, China, bringing together over 1,000 representatives of government, the finance sector, civil society, academia and industry to discuss a sustainable pathwayType:Blog postDate:12 June 2015
The 2015 World Hydropower Congress has drawn to a close. Here we take a look at the highlights of the final two days of the congress.Type:Blog postDate:20 May 2015