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

Case study: The Water for Energy Framework (W4EF) Initiative

By Mr. Laurent Bellet, Water and Energy Specialist, Electricité de France (EDF)


Water supply will be the major challenge facing humanity during the 21st century. Since this resource is vital for all activities, and that no substitute exists, human expansion and economic growth will lead to an inexorable increase in the demand. Water is used in energy production and supply, and, in turn, energy is used for pumping, moving and treating water. As a result, in a context of climate change, the linkages between both energy and water systems have grown more complex and interdependent. In the energy sector, water is used from sourcing to production, including fuel extraction (oil, gas, biofuels, uranium, etc.), energy production and conversion, and associated processes (e.g. refining, storage, and transportation).

The current challenges associated with the water-energy nexus is that, current water use assessment methodologies are not adapted to the energy companies’ needs because they are either implemented on a too global scale (being well-suited to a specific area and not to a process), or because they don’t tackle quality issues or the risks and impacts related to the use of the resource. However, there are huge opportunities in the field of water & energy if potential innovation is tapped through better collaboration between partners in both the energy and water sectors.

Partnership between various international stakeholders (Action Group) will help develop a comprehensive evaluation framework (W4EF) which can provide common and coherent definitions and indicators to assess the energy production’s impact on water. EDF (Electricité de France) will lead the proposed Action Group on implementing the methodology in a coherent way and ensure large dissemination across the European energy industry, potentially on even larger scale.