Water and Energy: Beyond the Nexus

World Water Assessment Programme
Stockholm International Water Institute

Increasing recognition of the water and energy “nexus” has raised awareness of the inter-linkages/interdependencies between these domains, both essential to economic growth and social development, and the need to take account of impacts and generate benefits across multiple sectors.


However, many barriers to cooperation between decision-makers and practitioners from water and energy still exist - from segregated market, policy and governance structures to different the use of vocabularies and the challenge of generating/combining data and information from different domains - which in turn complicate the evaluation and management of trade-offs. This event will reach beyond the usual “water for energy”/”energy for water” metrics, focusing on a more practical investigation of the broader water implications of the changing global energy mix and other trends in energy production and technology development.


Approaches to strength collaboration between the water and energy communities in order to develop appropriate response measures, manage trade-offs, and maximize co-benefits will be discussed.


09:00    Welcome and opening remarks. Mr. Olcay Ünver, WWAP

09:05    Seminar Objectives. Mr. Andreas Lindström, SIWI

09:10    Welcoming Remarks and Introduction of Panel. Mr. Johan Kuylenstierna, SEI


Emerging Issues in the Energy Sector

09:15    Recent Developments in Energy Production and their Water Implications -Technical Aspects. Prof. Gustaf Olsson, Lund University, Sweden

09:35    Energy Policy Development and Implementation in the European Union: Trends and Emerging issues. Dr. Jens Bartholmes, EC

09:50    Energy Policy Development and Implementation in the Eastern Africa Region: Trends and Emerging Issues.  Mr. Zelalem Gebrehiwot, Eastern Africa Power Pool

10:05    Energy Security and the Changing Energy Mix - What Future? Dr. Jakob Granit, SEI

10:20    Quantifying Trade-offs of the Water-Energy Nexus. Dr. Diego Rodriguez, WB


10:35    Coffee Break


11:05    Panel Discussion: Implications for Water, Other Users and the Environment

  • Prof. Gustaf Olsson, Lund University, Sweden
  • Dr. Jens Bartholmes, EC
  • Mr. Zelalem Gebrehiwot, Eastern Africa Power Pool
  • Dr. Jakob Granit, SEI
  • Dr. Diego Rodriguez, WB
  • Mr. Richard Connor, UNESCO-WWAP
  • Ms. Rejoice Thizwilondi Mabudafhasi, Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, South Africa

12:00    Questions and Answers

12:25    Closing statement. Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, Chairman  UN-Energy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General & CEO Sustainable Energy for All Initiative

12:30    Close of Seminar

The event explored the recent developments in energy production and their implications on water resources, and discussed some of the difficult trade-offs emanating from the water-energy nexus.


Water and energy are highly interdependent, and that choices made in one domain have impacts, both direct and indirect, positive and negative, on the other. They also collectively impact on other sectors and are impacted on by similar externalities. Water and energy are both drivers and constraints on economic growth and improving human health. They are enablers for widespread poverty reduction and job creation, and are generators of wellbeing.


Policy-makers, planners and practitioners in water and energy need to take steps to overcome the barriers that exist between their domains. Recognition of this interconnectedness has led some observers to call for a greater level of integration of the two domains. Although this may be possible and beneficial under certain circumstances, an increased level of collaboration and coordination would create favourable outcomes in nearly all situations.


The different political economies of water and energy should be recognized, as these affect the scope, speed and direction of change in the respective domains. While energy is often synonymous with big business and carries great political clout, water is not and generally does not. Partly as a result, there is a marked difference in the pace of change visible in the energy and water domains, driven by the evolution of markets and technologies. Unless those responsible for water step up their own governance reform efforts, the pressures emanating from developments in the energy sphere will become increasingly restrictive and make the tasks facing water planners, and the objective of a secure water future, much more difficult to achieve. And failures in water can also lead directly to failures in energy.


All the actions and responses would be easier and more effective with a better mutual understanding of the economic gains to be had from collaboration and cooperation between the two domains.

Thursday 09:00-12:30
Room K21
Register to the week