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
Hydropower is undergoing a worldwide renaissance; but what are the factors driving it? In this interview, Richard Taylor, chief executive of the International Hydropower Association, discusses the rate of deployType:Blog postDate:13 May 2015
One of the things I noted from the discussions at the recent Dresden Nexus Conference, organised by our friends at the UN University FLORES* is that climateType:Blog postDate:20 April 2015
Benedito Braga is the president of the World Water Council (WWC). In this video interview, he spoke with us about the water and energy nexus, and hydropower’s role in it.Type:Blog postDate:27 February 2015
James Dalton is the coordinator of global initiatives for the IUCN Water Programme. In this interview, he spoke to us about the importance of considering sustainability despite the pressures to address urgent development needs.Type:Blog postDate:26 February 2015
Mattia Celio is program manager at the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Economic Cooperation and Development Division.Type:Blog postDate:20 February 2015