Research Papers, Publications and Books

Water-Energy Nexus // Water Use in Electricity Generation for Water-Energy Nexus Analyses: The European Case

By Morten Andreas Dahl Larsen and Martin Drews. This paper has investigated the extent to which estimates of an ensemble of factor sets representing volumes of water use per unit of electricity produced by different energy sources. To support quantitative studies of the water-energy nexus at different levels and thus facilitate the improved management of water resources, the authors recommend sustained and coordinated efforts towards improving the availability of data linking observations and projections of, for example, energy and water systems at relevant spatio-temporal levels using common scenarios (including climate change) and assumptions.

With almost 40% of the global population suffering from water scarcity, the need to manage water resources is evidently urgent. While water and energy systems are intrinsically linked, the availability of comprehensive, integrated data sets across the domains of water and energy is generally lacking. As a result, estimated indicators representing volumes of water usage per unit of electricity or fuel produced are often required to analyse the water-energy nexus. In this paper, an “ensemble” of indicators is assembled representing water usage spanning different electricity-generation technologies based on previously published works in an attempt to depict the level or lack of detail in current large-scale energy-sector water-usage data. Based on these, the degree in which using such estimates is suitable for reproducing electricity-production water-usage at coarser spatiotemporal scales is assessed. The performance of the ensemble median/min/max as a predictor of water use is evaluated for the period from 1980 to 2015 using additional information about the constituents of the European energy system. Comparing with the reported values for 1980–2015, the median provides a skillful reproduction of historical yearly water use for the EU (EU28) as a whole. A further analysis for 2015 indicates that reasonable agreement is also seen at the country level. Thus, the results suggest that an “ensemble-based approach” has the potential to provide sturdy estimates of yearly water use by energy systems for analyses at both the country and regional levels.


Science of the Total Environment (Open Access)


October 2018


Science of the Total Environment 651 (2019) 2044–2058

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WEFE Nexus Publication // European Commission Position Paper on the WEFE Nexus and the SDGs

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) and European Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) have recently launched a Position Paper on the Water, Energy, Food and Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Highlighting the key outcomes of exchanges with experts held in 2018, the Paper aims to launch a dialogue on how to operationalise the WEFE Nexus.

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Solar-powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS)

JRC Technical Report // Water-Energy-Food Nexus Interactions Assessment: Renewable Energy Sources to support Water Access and Quality in West Africa

By Kougias I., Szabó S., Scarlat N., Monforti F., Banja M., Bódis K., Moner-Girona M. Mitigating the big challenges of access to clean water, energy and poverty in Africa requires integrated solutions. The analysis of issues related to the water, energy, food and the ecosystem through a nexus approach, has attracted the interest of scientists, policy-makers and the private sector. The present Technical Report examines the potential of such an approach to create beneficial synergies between the...

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Modelling and Assessment

Holistic Water-Energy-Food Nexus for Guiding Water Resources Planning // Matagorda County, Texas Case

By Muhammed I. Kulat, Rabi H. Mohtar and Francisco Olivera. The authors developed a holistic framework to provide sustainable scenarios that include feasible infrastructure interventions. The framework focuses on water and associated links with other resources, includes a unique analytic tool for quantifying scenarios, and ultimately produces a sustainability analysis of each scenario. Optimal scenarios are offered that consider site-specific dynamic resource interlinkages. The WEF nexus model...

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