2014 UN-Water Annual International Zaragoza Conference. Preparing for World Water Day 2014: Partnerships for improving water and energy access, efficiency and sustainability. 13-16 January 2014

The Business Case for Integrated Energy-Water Planning and Investments

Session convener: World Bank
Date: 14 January Time: 2014 10:00-13:00:


The world’s water and energy systems are inextricably linked. However, while a global water crisis could take place in the future, the energy challenge is present. Water constraints have already adversely impacted the energy sector in many parts of the world. In countries such as the United States of America (USA), France and India; several power plants have been affected by low water flows or high water temperatures. In view of the risks facing the energy industry as a result of water constraints, it is therefore paramount to ensure proper integrated policies, planning and investments between these two sectors for socio-economic sustainability.

The role of technological and business partners for improving policies public for water and energy efficiency, accessibility and sustainability is of major importance. Moreover, the energy-water challenge is too large for any organization to tackle alone so there is the need to work with an array of partners to design policies and for planning and investments that will ensure continuous improvement. The World Bank has embarked on a global initiative: thirsty energy, which quantifies tradeoffs and identifies synergies between water and energy resource management and aims to help governments prepare for an uncertain future, and break disciplinary silos that prevent cross-sectoral planning. It focuses on increasing awareness of the urgent issues among relevant stakeholders in both water and energy sectors.

It is important for major key stakeholders in these two sectors to build country capacity by identifying water constrains and plan energy and water resources comprehensively. Fostering interdisciplinary collaboration between energy and water sectors will provide the knowledge exchange necessary to develop and implement integrated management frameworks.


  • This session aims to specifically strengthen the partnerships among key stakeholders in terms of defining policies, discussing long-term commitments and agreeing on a course of action.
  • This session focuses on understanding the water risks for the energy sector policy makers by illustrating how designing energy plans and investments without properly considering water can leave countries unnecessarily vulnerable to risks and compromise sustainability.
  • The session will also focus on demonstrating how integrated policies to water-energy issues can achieve greater economic and social impacts.
  • The session will allow participants to share their work and experiences and strengthen partnerships for policy design, planning and investment.

Questions to be addressed

  • What are some of the tools and frameworks developed by technology and business partners that help mitigate sectoral tensions and to engage the energy policy community in the dialogue?
  • How can water constraints in the energy sector help drive policies, planning and investments for a sustainable development of the resources?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges for these collaborations?
  • Why are partnerships with governments and important subject for our client countries?


  • 10:00-10:30 Thirsty Energy Initiative: An Overview Diego Rodriguez, Senior Economist, Department of Transport, Water and Information Communication Technology (TWIWA), The World Bank
  • 10:30-11:00 Technical Considerations
    What are, the research centers doing, for reaching out to governments? How showing that different technical approaches to tackle the water-energy challenge is impacting policies, planning and investments?
    • Mrs. Anna Delgado, Energy and Water Specialist, Department of Transport, Water and Information Communication Technology (TWIWA), on complexities and challenges of determining water use by different power generation technologies.
    • Michael Hightower (TBC), Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff, Energy Systems Analysis Department, Sandia Laboratories USA. The Water-Energy Initiative in the US, highlighting tools, frameworks and partnerships developed to mitigate sectoral tensions and to engage the energy community in the dialogue.
    • Adrian Stone, Energy Systems Analysis Planning Programme, Energy Research Center, University of Cape Town. New ongoing work in South Africa to mainstream water constraints into energy optimization planning models.
  • 11:30-12:00 Private Sector Innovations – Companies’ Role in Ameliorating Energy-Water Stresses.
    What are the main challenges companies face in reaching out to governments regarding the energy-water nexus policies? How can the business community help showing governments that water constraints in the energy sector can drive innovation and partnerships for a sustainable development of the resources? How is the private sector helping making the case to adapt policies, planning and investments with energy and water uncertainty in the future?
  • 12:00-12:20 Managing the water and energy challenge at a national scale. How Governments enhance integrated water-energy planning to reduce vulnerability of water and energy investments? What can Governments do to ensure sustainable development? Why is this an important issue and why are partnerships important for countries?
    • Annukka Lipponen, Environmental Affairs Officer, Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). Presents a case on the Pilot Assessment of the Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystems Nexus in the Alazan/Ganikh Basin.
    • Kelly Kryc, Department of State, US Government, presents how the US Government has been incorporating the nexus in their practice. What has taken to do so.
    • Maria Sicilia Salvadores, Ministry of Industry and Energy of Spain: National energy planning and integration of water issues (tbc)
  • 12:20-12:50 General discussion and concluding remarks. Diego Rodriguez, The World Bank