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Implications of energy (infrastructure) expansion and agricultural intensification on water ecosystems

Posted by BuragGurden on
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Implications of energy (infrastructure) expansion and agricultural intensification on water ecosystems

From hydroelectric and geothermal power to cooling at power plants and fossil fuel extraction, water is directly involved across energy systems as well as across food systems (fertilizers, irrigation). The increasing food and energy demands naturally widen the dependency on water provision and vice versa. This is a heating issue particularly in developing countries, where it is materialized in an increasing number of power plants and a greater volume of water diversion (Hussey and Pittock, 2012; Menegaki and Tiwari, 2018). Expansion of water and energy infrastructure on rivers (hydropower) and groundwater (geothermal) well exemplify this intervention, i.e. hydroelectric and geothermal power plants. On the dirty end of the stick, both surface- and groundwater ecosystems are quickly depleting. Therefore, nexus assessment should pay particular attention to the changes in resource dependencies, and investigate the governance and politics of water-energy nexus interventions, such as hydroelectric and geothermal power plants. The negligence and ignorance of such studies, rendered water and energy intersections conflict-prone as resource extraction tends to generate winners and losers across different scales (temporal and administrative) and geographies (social and spatial). However, nexus assessment can include this aspect as a core tenet of nexus-understanding.

Hussey, K. and Pittock, J. (2012) ‘The Energy-Water Nexus : Managing the Links between Energy and’, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 17(1), p. 31. doi: 10.5751/ES-04641-170131.

Menegaki, A. N. and Tiwari, A. K. (2018) ‘A global food-energy-water nexus with heterogeneity, non-stationarity and cross-sectional dependence’, Quality & Quantity, 52(6), pp. 2723–2755. doi: 10.1007/s11135-018-0690-0.