Water availability has significant impacts on the social and economic welfare in a society. Water is a pillar in the development of reliable energy infrastructure. The observed intricate connection between water and energy has led to the adoption of the phrase “water-energy nexus” to encompass the use of water in energy production and energy consumption in the provision of water-related services. Water is a chief element in the extraction and production of various forms of energy. On the other hand, a country consumes a significant percentage of the energy consumption by a country relates to the provision of water services such as irrigation, pumping, treatment and desalination for consumption in homes. Over the last couple of decades, researchers from have developed various methods and procedures for water and energy management. The chief objective of the developed methods is to ensure the sustainability of energy and water resources in a world where the human population has grown exponentially. The methods for water and energy management describe strategies to minimize water wastage in the exploration, extraction, generation and transmission of energy. Similarly, the methods describe the procedures to minimize energy wastage in the exploration, extraction, collection, distribution and treatment of water for human use.
The analysis of water and energy management approaches in typical U.S conditions considers strategies such as desalination and water recycling as alternative sources of water and strategies that ensure minimal greenhouse gas emissions in the provision of water-related services. For example, the state of California requires about 5.8 GJ of energy to meet an individual’s annual water demands when relying on imported water. The process of treating, pumping the imported water to a Californian and transporting the water to wastewater facilities contributes about 360 kg of carbon dioxide emissions. The use of desalinated seawater in California would increase the water energy consumption for every Californian to about 14GJ. The equivalent carbon dioxide emissions would increase to about 800 kg (Stokes and Horvath 2680). The adoption of hybrid water sources and renewable energy for water-related services can significantly enhance water and energy management. For example, the use of solar thermal energy in seawater desalination can considerably reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An analysis of California’s electricity statistics demonstrates that the use of solar thermal energy would lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to the processing of imported and recycled water in California. The reliance on solar thermal energy to provide various water services would contribute to about 1.5 percent increases in green house gas emissions. The results highlight the need for consideration of various approaches when making decisions on environmental friendly water-energy models.
An analysis of data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) demonstrates that installing systems that operate on renewable energy and water-efficient fixtures in American homes would help to reduce the country’s annual energy consumption by about 100 million kWh of electricity. The use of solar energy in water and energy management has been an area of focus for researchers. The analysis of energy consumption and environmental impacts of solar water pumps and heaters can provide an efficient model an efficient system of water extraction, treatment and distribution. The installation of biomass boilers that rely on wastewaters from homes can significantly reduce the energy used in pumping water from households to wastewater facilities while ensuring optimal water recycling. The anticipated increase in human population and consumption requires that policy makers promote practices that encourage the installation of renewable energy systems in homes. The use of heat pumps for water heating provides an environmental friendly and cost-effective approach of responding to the energy water demands in households and businesses (Tagliafico 834).
The projection of future energy and water demands demonstrate that energy demands will increase by about 50 percent, which will lead to about 85 percent increase in water consumption in the energy sector by 2035. The increase in human population will demand the adoption of sustainable methods of water extraction, treatment and distribution considering the decline of water tables in most regions. Groundwater pumping has higher energy demands than surface water pumping. Reports from the US Environment Protection Agency estimate that about 4 percent of the national energy consumption serves the provision of drinking water and wastewater annually. About 35 percent of energy consumption in municipalities results from the water and wastewater utilities. The adoption of appropriate procedures for efficient water and wastewater management can reduce the energy costs by more than $400 annually (Maas 5).
The water-energy nexus has become central area of focus for researchers considering the social and economic risks of inefficient water and energy management. Water is vital to hydroelectricity generation, cooling in thermal and nuclear plants and various mining activities such as the extraction of oil from tar sands. Energy is crucial to water extraction, treatment and distribution activities. Domestic, industrial and agricultural water consumption contributes to a significant percent of the national annual energy consumption. The adoption of appropriate methods to ensure sustainable water and energy management strategies is crucial to social and economic progress throughout the world.
Maas, Carol 2010. Ontario’s Water-Energy Nexus Will We Find Ourselves in Hot Water… or Tap into Opportunity? PDF file. 2015. Web.
Stokes, Jennifer and Arpad Horvath. “Energy and Air Emission Effects of Water Supply.” Environmental Science & Technology 43 (2009): 2680-687. Print.
Tagliafico, Luca A., Federico Scarpa, Giulio Tagliafico, and Federico Valsuani. “An Approach to Energy Saving Assessment of Solar Assisted Heat Pumps for Swimming Pool Water Heating.” Energy and Buildings 55 (2012): 833-40. Print.