event 05 Nov 2021

Report // The Water-Energy Nexus in Iran: Water-Related Challenges for the Power Sector

By Julia Terrapon-Pfaff, Thomas Fink, and Stefan Lechtenböhmer. This study explores the water-energy nexus' relevance to the Iranian electricity sector. The energy sector in Iran is highly reliant on water, and water scarcity is already affecting energy in the nation. The report discusses the current state of energy and water in Iran, as well as future water-related risks and impacts on the Iraninan power sector as a result. The study sets out recommendations for future research needs as well as opportunities for scientific collaboration.

Water energy nexus iran


Around the world, electricity generation requires water for cooling, running turbines, cleaning processes and power plant operation. Accordingly, the globally increasing demand for electricity produces a growing demand for water. Particularly in Iran, and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa, diminishing water resources are very likely to adversely affect not only the primary energy production, but also the operation of electricity generation capacities, putting energy security at risk while jeopardizing the region’s social and economic development.

In Iran, the increasing depletion of the country’s water resources is becoming a serious issue. Among other consequences, water scarcity has already affected the Iranian power sector, which depends heavily on water-intensive thermal and hydro-power generation technologies. At the same time, the already fast-paced growth in electricity demand is expected to further accelerate in the future, if the nation’s demand for water is to be satisfied by the application of energy-intensive desalination and water re-use technologies. Thus, Iran’s power sector is not only affected by, but contributes to the country’s water stress.

This publication intends to provide a comprehensive overview of the water-energy nexus’ relevance to the Iranian electricity sector, by illustrating key trends, analysing water-related challenges and identifying knowledge gaps. It summarises the results of a workshop, and a series of dialogues with Iranian energy and water experts, in which both the current situation and future water-related risks and impacts on the Iranian power sector were discussed. Based on those results, it highlights research needs and further options for scientific collaboration.


December 2018


Friedrich Ebert Stiftung


Download the full study here.

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