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
This short video introduces the role of hydropower in the world today and the future challenges for sustainable development.Type:Blog postDate:22 August 2014
In the first week of August 2014, the Indian hydropower sector gathered in Delhi to discuss possible pathways for the development of hydropower in the country.Type:Blog postDate:5 August 2014
On 18–20 June, we participated in the biennial meeting of the Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO's International Hydrological Programme in Paris, France.Type:News postDate:30 June 2014
Jindal Power Limited, India’s leading power generation company with a portfolio of 15,000 MW in various stages of operation, implementation, development and planning in hydro and thermal, has signed a partnership with the InternType:Blog postDate:4 June 2014
Giulio Boccaletti, Ph.D., is the managing director for global water at The Nature Conservancy. He spoke with us about sustainability as a structural issue, and the importance of dialogue between NGOs and the hydropower community.Type:Blog postDate:29 April 2014