Journal paper – Water use in electricity generation for water-energy nexus analyses: The European case

A new study by Morten A.D. Larsen and Martin Drews from the Technical University of Denmark published in Science of The Total Environment (Larsen and Drews, 2019) looks into the quality of present day openly available data on the water-energy nexus at larger scales, here highlighted for Europe. The approach is to combine multiple (free) data sources to generate the best possible estimate on the actual 1980-2015 historical water consumption (net share) and withdrawal rates (total share including return flow) for EU28 countries and compare these estimates with reported numbers as available from Eurostat (European statistical office). The data sources in the study included not only general data repositories but also elaborate satellite imagery analyses to assess the technologies employed as well as the water source in question (fresh or saline water), as such simple information is not sufficiently available through open access sources currently.

A key finding is the resemblance between estimated water withdrawal levels and corresponding reported levels (from Eurostat) both historically (1980-2015) for EU28 (Fig. 1) and per country (2015) (Fig. 2). A key message is the lack of proper data within the water-energy nexus with regards to availability, access and quality to facilitate quantitative studies and most energy data omit water linkages entirely. A key perspective is that the results can support interdependencies between water and energy within modelling efforts, where existing models are often refined to reflect new knowledge or specific challenges and research questions.

The full article can be found here.

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