Societal opportunities and challenges 2

Balancing societal uses of energy and water

Energy and water are critical factors in urban development. Rapidly growing cities depend on reliable energy and water supply, but must try to reduce demands, manage trade-offs and optimise resource use by reuse, recycling and generation of energy from waste, all in an integrated urban management context. For industrial development improved efficiency in the use, and reuse, of energy and water is essential to save on increasingly scarce resources and costs, for both production and waste management.

An added driver is to strengthen corporate social and environmental responsibility through sustainable production. Research, innovation and technology development for improved energy and water efficiency are essential for such efforts. The energy-water linkage is not only about quantity, but also about water quality and pollution, related to pollutant discharge, to significant quantities of heated cooling water affecting surface waters, or to potential groundwater pollution due to energy-related geo-engineering activities, including fracking.