EARTH: The energy-water nexus: Managing water in an energy-constrained world

July 03, 2013

Alexandria, VA - Of all the water on Earth, less than 3 percent is available for human use, and as climates change and populations boom, the strategies used to extract it will become increasingly complex. With increasing demand, policymakers, scientists and leaders must recognize the energy-water nexus. The energy-water nexus describes an interdependent relationship that exists between availability of water resources and the energy required to obtain, distribute and utilize them. The way we manage the delicate relationship between energy and water will have major implications for the future of both critical resources, as EARTH explores in the July issue.

Influenced strongly by regional water availability, U.S. water sector trends suggest the U.S. is moving toward accessing more energy-intensive water by using processes like desalination. Similar nontraditional water resources are being explored globally at great capital and energy expense -- using up to ten times more energy than on traditional water resources. However, other efforts, like California's use of reclaimed wastewater offers potential opportunities to better manage Earth's water and energy resources.
Read further in the July issue of EARTH Magazine to explore what other sectors are influencing the U.S. energy-water nexus, and to learn what efforts are being made to mitigate costs as communities access more energy-intensive water resources here:

Don't miss the other great articles in the July issue of EARTH Magazine.

Discover how scientists are using repurposed military drones in research; read about Superstorm Sandy's seismic effects on the U.S.; and explore the geology of Europe's "Hawaii," the Canary Islands, all in this month's issue of EARTH, now available on the digital newsstand at

Keep up to date with the latest happenings in Earth, energy and the environment news with EARTH magazine online at Published by the American Geosciences Institute, EARTH is your source for the science behind the headlines.

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geosciences education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.

American Geosciences Institute

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