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Freshwater management

Introduction

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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