A Common Water and Energy Challenge

Published on Tuesday, 11 February 2014

At least 780 million people in the world lack access to drinking water, and more than 1.3 billion have no access to electricity, figures show the extent of the task ahead if we want to create a sustainable future.

They are also issues that cannot be separated, and that need a common and coordinated approach in order to tackle them, because they are connected and are set to become even more so over the next few years, due to issues brought about by climate change.

By 2035 global energy demand is expected to increase by 50 percent. However, in order to meet this need, water consumption by the energy industry will grow by 85 percent. It is therefore absolutely crucial that common management strategies are adopted in both fields.

This message comes from Thirsty Energy, an initiative launched by the World Bank on the occasion of the Second International Water Summit held in Abu Dhabi.

Satisfying increasing energy consumption without draining water resources or altering its quality means that the energy industry needs to adopt a strategy based on the sustainable management of water and the efficient use of resources.
This is a strategic guideline that the Enel Group adopted some time ago, focusing on the protection of natural resources and safeguarding biodiversity. The amount of water used by Enel Group per unit of produced energy has dropped consistently over time and in 2012 (the latest data available) it was reduced by 4.6 percent compared to the previous year. This figure is in line with the 10 percent reduction target on total water use that Enel has committed to realise by 2020.