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“The World Bank and the Water-Energy Linkages”

February 21, 2013


The electricity poles along with the banks of river Ganga (Ganges) ©NitinKaushal/WWF-India

The electricity poles along the banks of river Ganga (Ganges) ©NitinKaushal/WWF-India

“Water is the common denominator across all aspects of green growth and poverty reduction and it is essential to food and energy security. The increased demand for energy will put additional pressure on already constrained water resources. The capacity of water and energy systems to provide reliable and affordable service is crucial for economy-wide growth and poverty reduction. But making decisions on water allocations among sectors has not been an easy process,” says Diego Rodriguez.

Global economic growth is being driven largely by emerging markets. Over the medium term, the World Bank estimates economic growth of 6% in developing countries compared to 2.7% in higher-income countries. As economies grow and diversify, they experience competing demands for water for more municipal and industrial uses, as well as agriculture. Yet, 783 million and 2.5 billion people remain without water and sanitation, respectively. Cities will need to meet the increasing demand for food, energy, and water services of 70 million more people each year over the next 20 years. Over 1.3 billion people are still without access to electricity worldwide and closing the energy gap has implications on water, such as for fuel extraction, cooling water, and hydropower. This includes the expansion of renewable energy such as solar thermal and biofuels. Water-intensive thermal and hydropower already account for 90% of power generation, while global energy consumption will increase by nearly 50% by 2035. Recent estimates from the World Energy Council show that emerging economies like China, India, and Brazil will double their energy consumption in the next 40 years; by 2050, Africa’s electricity generation will be seven times as high as nowadays; in Asia, by 2050, primary energy production will almost double, and electricity generation will more than triple; in Latin America, increased production will come from non-conventional oil, thermal, and gas sources. The amount of electricity generated is expected to increase fivefold in the next 40 years and the amount of water needed will triple.

 This is an excerpt from Dr. Diego Rodriguez, Senior Economist at the Water Unit of the Department of Transport, Water and Information and Communication Technology of the Sustainable Development Vice-Presidency of the World Bank interview on the Nexus website.
To read the complete article and Dr. Rodriguez bio, please click here.
For further information on the World Bank initiative, please contact drodriguez1[at]worldbank dot org

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