Michel Jarraud is Chair of UN-Water.
"The water and energy nexus presents significant opportunities for both the water and energy sectors. Increasing collaboration and coordination in the development of policy responses for example can greatly help reduce inefficiencies and better manage trade-offs".
What are your expectations on the Zaragoza Conference on partnership for improving Water and Energy (W&E) efficiency and sustainability?
Water and energy are both drivers and inhibitors of economic growth and improvement of human health and well-being, and energy security and water issues have received significant attention in the past decade. However decision- and policy-makers in the two domains often fail to recognize the interdependencies between water and energy, sometimes leading to situations where securing one puts the other at risk.
I hope that the Zaragoza Conference will bring decision- and policy-makers from both domains at the same table, help them recognize the interdependencies between water and energy and see the opportunities offered by increased collaboration and coordination.
What are some of the challenges for water and energy in the context of the Millennium Development Goals and future Sustainable Development Goals?
On the one hand, the world needs to provide adequate and sustainable access to the more than 1.3 billion people who still lack electricity and to the more than 700 million people who lack an improved water supply today – which basically means lifting the “bottom billion” out of poverty; and, on the other hand, to keep up with the growing demand for both water and energy associated with population growth, rapid urbanization and economic development in a context of increased scarcity of natural resources, pollution, degraded ecosystems, climate change and regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2010, energy production was responsible for 15 percent of the world’s total freshwater withdrawals. Water demand for energy will certainly increase as energy demand itself is expected to increase by more than one third by 2035. The growing demand for finite water resources is leading to increased competition between the energy sector and other water-using sectors of the economy, principally agriculture and industry. In the past decade, severe episodes of droughts, heat waves and local water shortages have interrupted electricity generation all around the world, with serious economic consequences. At the same time, limitations on energy availability constrain the delivery of water services. There is an urgent need to address water and energy challenges in an integrated and coordinated manner to ensure the sustainability of both water and energy services.
As UN-Water Chair what suggestions do you have for stakeholders in the water and energy sectors?
The water and energy nexus presents significant opportunities for both the water and energy sectors. Increasing collaboration and coordination in the development of policy responses for example can greatly help reduce inefficiencies and better manage trade-offs, leading to more efficient provision of water and energy services. However, policy-makers, planners and practitioners first need to overcome the barriers that exist between their respective domains
What is the approach taken by UN-Water to help partners and stakeholders in water and energy to play their roles in achieving set targets?
UN-Water has dedicated the World Water Day 2014 campaign to the theme of ‘Water and Energy’ and the upcoming World Water Development Report, to be released on World Water Day in March 2014, also addresses the same theme and seeks to inform decision-makers, stakeholders and practitioners about the water and energy inter-linkages, potential synergies and trade-offs.
The World Water Development Report highlights in particular the need for compatible and coherent national energy and water policies. Climate change mitigation policies are a particularly emblematic example as efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through hydropower or biofuels may place greater pressure on water resources, and development of new water sources through desalination may imperil national emissions targets.
The World Water Day and the World Water Development Report 2014 are intended to create and inform a dialogue, and stimulate increased collaboration and coordination between policy-makers, planners and practitioners in the water and energy sectors as a way to harness the opportunities for both sectors offered by a nexus approach to water and energy challenges.
>> Integrated Energy-Water Planning and Investments
>> Industry partnerships to ensure water and energy efficiency and sustainability
>> Local Partnerships on Water and Energy
>> Policy Research and Innovation Partnerships
>> 14 Jan. World Water Day 2014
>> 14 Jan. Challenges for water and energy in Spain
>> 15 Jan. Side breakfast. Legal and tenure aspects on water and energy
>> 15 Jan. Managing the nexus on water and energy in Spain
>> 15 Jan. World Water Week 2014