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
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
The multiple roles of hydropower, and the relationship between renewable energy and water will be discussed during the celebrations of World Water Day on 20–21 March 2014 in Tokyo.Type:News postDate:19 March 2014
Early-stage planning is under way for a multi-purpose hydropower programme on the Sava River in Croatia.Type:Blog postDate:19 March 2014
Last week, African and European political and business leaders met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to lay out bold plans for Africa’s energy future, with hydropower at the forefront.Type:Blog postDate:18 February 2014
The newly-elected IHA Board gathered in London last week for its first meeting.Type:News postDate:29 October 2013