Water and energy are strongly interrelated and the links between the two systems are expected to intensify further in the future. The energy sector withdraws more water than any other sector in the United States, mainly for power generation. Similarly, the water sector relies heavily on energy for water supply and water treatment (including desalinization). The interdependency between energy and water is referred to as Energy-Water (EW) Nexus. The intent of this module is to introduce students to Energy-Water Nexus and analyze stresses on water system under different scenarios of current and future energy demands, including factors such as fuel type, cooling technologies, greenhouse regulations, and population growth. The analysis is done at the scale of eight-digit watershed hydrologic unit code (HUC8).
The module is composed of three main sections; each section has background information and contains a set of quantitative, hypothesis-driven learning activities that utilize different datasets on water use, water supply and thermoelectric power plants.
(1) Analysis of water supply and demand
(2) Analysis of stress on surface and groundwater systems
(3) Sectoral analysis of water stresses
(4) Impact of environmental flows
(5) Analysis of groundwater depletion
(6) Mapping power plants in the U.S.
(7) Impact of power plant retrofitting on the water system
(8) Water requirements for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies
(9) Analysis of water-energy nexus under future population growth scenarios
(10) Use of non-traditional water resources for energy, with cost-benefit analysis
Hanz UnruhUniversity of Louisiana at Lafayette. Contact:C00062543@louisiana.edu
Hisham EldardiryUniversity of Washington Seattle. Contact: email@example.com
Vincent TidwellSandia National Laboratories. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Junior/Senior Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering Courses
Computer with access to Internet, Excel, HydroViz Water-Energy Portal and free QGIS software
Course Sharing and Adaptation
This course is available for export by clicking the "Export Link" at the top right of this page. If you are an Instructor seeking the answer keys, please contact the course creators using your official University email account.
Make sure you cite the source of your new course (e.g., this course was adapted from Energy-Water Nexus). You can include this citation on an "Adaptation Page" of your new course, in your course card, or in the introduction section of your new course.
Habib, E., Tidwell, V., Eldardiry, H., Unruh, H. (2019) Energy-Water Nexus. HydroLearn. https://edx.hydrolearn.org/courses/course-v1:HydroLearn+HydroLearn404+2019_S2/about.
Expected Total Hours
A student could expect to complete this module with approximately 26 work hours.