Challenges and opportunities related to the Spanish water-energy nexus
ABSTRACT: Water-energy nexus outcomes are progressively going beyond the frontiers of academic institutions. The recent Bonn 2011 Conference gathered water, energy, and food perspectives and brought the issues to the policy arena. The private sector sees the water-energy nexus as a source of challenges but also identifies business opportunities for the near future. This chapter presents some striking outcomes of the consideration of the water-energy nexus for both public and private levels of action. The first of the two connections is the energy for water. We emphasize the energy needs of irrigated agriculture, a challenge for the coming decades (today, 67% of the withdrawn water in Spain) and the trade-offs between water conservation and energy demands of alternative supplies for the agricultural sector. The second connection is the water for energy. Around 8,500 million m3 per annum of water are withdrawn per year in Spain to cool electricity generation plants. According to future electricity demand scenarios and the types of technology being installed, this volume could double, adding further pressure to already stressed Spanish basins. We conclude by highlighting the need to integrate both energy and water issues jointly in all decisions related to energy generation decisions and water use and conservation issues.