Water and energy are closely interlinked. Water is needed at every stage of the energy supply chain and energy is needed to extract, distribute, treat and desalinate water. These complex interdependencies and trade-offs between water and energy are part of the so-called Water-Energy Nexus.
Particularly in regions affected by water stress, the increasing demand for energy can lead to greater water scarcity and the energy sector can be affected by reduced water availability. At the same time, the decreased availability of groundwater and surface water encourages the use of energy-intensive desalination and water re-use technologies, especially in the dry areas of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Iran faces a similar situation. It is affected by a growing depletion of its water resources due, in part, to a changing climate but also to the growth of water demand in the agricultural, industrial and residential sectors. Against a background of increased energy demand, depleted water resources could affect the fossil fuel industry and operation of electricity generation capacities. This could put energy security in Iran at risk and jeopardise social and economic development in the country.
The risks resulting from water stress to energy security in general – and the power sector in particular – have so far barely been examined. The planned dialogue format aims to explore the relevance of the Water-Energy Nexus for energy security in the electricity sector in Iran. Through discourse with Iranian energy, water and agriculture experts, the current situation and future challenges related to the Water-Energy Nexus will be considered and research needs and options for scientific collaboration will be identified.