Energy and Water
Several years ago, in the Asia-Pacific Water Development Outlook 2007, the Prime Minister of India stated that “…if all members of society can have adequate access to energy and water, many of the societal problems can be solved”. That statement is as true today as it was then. Energy and water are inextricably linked – we need “water for energy” for cooling, storage, biofuels, hydropower, fracking etc., and we need “energy for water” to pump, treat and desalinate. Without energy and water we cannot satisfy basic human needs, produce food for a rapidly growing population and achieve economic growth. And yet, today, 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity and some 800 million people get their water from unimproved sources. Many more consume water that is unsafe to drink. These are mostly the same billion poor, hungry and underprivileged human beings.
Over the coming 30 years food and energy demands are expected to increase dramatically, yet we will depend on the same finite and vulnerable water resource as today for sustaining life, economic growth and our environment.
When addressing the “energy and water” theme during 2014 World Water Week in Stockholm we shall take an overall “systems view” of how we develop and manage energy and water for the good of society and ecosystems – at local, national, regional and global levels – and avoid unintended consequences of narrow sectoral approaches. The “water, energy and food security nexus”, underpinning the green growth approach, will be central to the agenda.
The energy and water theme will be addressed from two overall perspectives: the societal opportunities and challenges, and the cross-cutting issues.