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Publication Date
22 August 2016

Global and Regional Evaluation of Energy for Water



Despite significant effort to quantify the interdependence of the water and energy sectors, global requirements of energy for water (E4W) are still poorly understood, which may result in biases in projections and consequently in water and energy management and policy. This study estimates water-related energy consumption by water source, sector, and process for 14 global regions from 1973 to 2012. Globally, E4W amounted to 10.2 EJ of primary energy consumption in 2010, accounting for 1.7%–2.7% of total global primary energy consumption, of which 58% pertains to fresh surface water, 30% to fresh groundwater, and 12% to nonfresh water, assuming median energy intensity levels. The sectoral E4W allocation includes municipal (45%), industrial (30%), and agricultural (25%), and main process-level contributions are from source/conveyance (39%), water purification (27%), water distribution (12%), and wastewater treatment (18%). While the United States was the largest E4W consumer from the 1970s until the 2000s, the largest consumers at present are the Middle East, India, and China, driven by rapid growth in desalination, groundwater-based irrigation, and industrial and municipal water use, respectively. The improved understanding of global E4W will enable enhanced consistency of both water and energy representations in integrated assessment models.

“Global And Regional Evaluation Of Energy For Water”. 2016. Environmental Science & Technology 50: 9736-9745. doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b01065.
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