The Water-Energy Nexus, Redux

We first posted about the relationship between water and energy in 2011 and have made numerous other posts since then with updates on this issue. Because such a large part of the costs experienced in water distribution and the wastewater treatment process are for energy, this is an issue of great interest within our industry. 

The subject now brings up more than three million results on Google. Expectedly, The Energy Department has a lot to say on the subject. They have a 2014 report on the subject, a report so comprehensive that the executive summary is 15 pages long. 

The full report, “The Water-Energy Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities,” is 238 pages and chock full of data. The page count is a bit misleading because the large number of tables and graphs take up a high percentage of those pages, making it a much easier read than such a page count would imply. The data tell a significant story about the interconnection of water and energy.

The DOE also produced a very nice infographic on the subject, repeated below. 

Water Energy Nexus InfographicWater Energy Nexus Infographic

Infographic by Sarah Gerrity, Energy Department

While the DOE’s report focuses on the United States, The International Energy Agency has produced a similar report, “Water Energy Nexus: Excerpt from the World Energy Outlook 2016.” It is not quite as comprehensive a report, but with a world-wide look at the issue.

The National Conference of State Legislatures also weighed in with their “Overview of the Water-Energy Nexus in the United States,” which addresses the subject at a state level and identifies the states that had (as of 2014) statutes recognizing the water-energy nexus.

There’s no doubt that the subject is heavily studied. All the reports cite numerous research studies and are a trove of references for anyone with a serious interest in learning more about the subject. It’s a subject we take seriously in the design and implementation of our control systems, and we will continue to post on the subject as we become aware of developments worth sharing.