Demand for water and energy is increasing because of population growth, economic growth (rising incomes), and urbanisation. Even though poverty is still widespread, many people in the developing world are experiencing greater prosperity as countries make the transition from a subsistence economy to an industrial or service one. This adds pressure on the available resources.
“One of the big challenges in dealing with water is that it is in high demand by so many users. And even though the demand for energy is growing, the supply of fresh water remains the same,” explains GWP Chair Dr. Ursula Schaefer-Preuss in the video.
An additional challenge involves the planning process on how to use and allocate resources. It is not unusual for energy planners to make decisions independent of how they affect water use. One example is the shift to low-carbon energy sources (biofuels) which brings greater water consumption and food insecurity. From the other side, water managers may decide to pump greater amounts of water for irrigation without considering the resulting demand on energy and the infrastructure required to deliver it.
This is why GWP recommends an integrated approach.
“It is important for stakeholders from the water and energy sectors to come together to develop solutions. This will require collaboration and compromise from government, the private sector, and civil society - including the people on the ground. GWP offers a platform for dialogue between all the sectors,” says Dr. Schaefer-Preuss.
A GWP Briefing Note addressing water and energy interconnections is available.
During the main celebrations of World Water Day 2014 on 21 March in Tokyo, Japan, the UN World Water Development Report (WWDR) 2014 on Water and Energy is also due to be released. At the same time, GWP will launch “Towards 2020”, GWP’s Strategy for 2014-2019.
A Spanish version of the video is also available: