Water Grand Challenges: Energy-Water Nexus
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The Energy-Water Nexus explains the relationship between the energy required for water and the water required for energy production.1 In the past, energy and water have been regulated as separate entities. However, the growing Texas population and prolonged drought have required that decision makers begin to recognize the interconnectedness of these two resources when creating new regulatory policies for energy production and water use.1
As both the second most populated state in the country and the state with the highest rate of population growth over the last decade, Texas’ energy production and consumption are the highest in the nation.1 This growth is heavily concentrated in large, metropolitan centers along the I-35 corridor and in certain cities along the coast where water availability is not constant. High weather variability across the state results in an uneven distribution of water resources from west (drier) to east (wetter).1 Constraints on water resources due to the increase drought and heat waves also mean increased restraint on, and cost for, energy production.2 Figure 1 published by Stillwell et al. 2010 with the Webber Energy Group compares energy consumption by sector between Texas and the rest of the country.