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Water-energy nexus challenges & opportunities in the Arabian Peninsula under climate change

Poster presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, 12-16 December 2016

Author(s): Flores, F. ; Yates, D. ; Galaitsi, S. ; Binnington, T. ; Dougherty, B. ; Vinnaccia, M.; Glavan, J.C.
Year: 2016

This conference poster presents the results of a study of the water-energy nexus in countries in the Arabian Peninsula, using a coupled WEAP-LEAP model.

Demand for water in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries relies mainly on fossil groundwater resources and desalination. Satisfying water demand requires a great deal of energy, as it requires treating and moving water along the supply chain from sources, through treatment processes, and ultimately to the consumer. Hence, there is an inherent connection between water and energy; with climate change, the links between water and energy are expected to become even stronger.As part of the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) Local, National, and Regional Climate Change Programme, a study of the water-energy nexus of the countries in the Arabian Peninsula was implemented.

For water, WEAP models both water demand – and its main drivers – and water supply, simulating policies, priorities and preferences. For energy, LEAP models both energy supply and demand, and is able to capture the impacts of low-carbon development strategies. A coupled WEAP-LEAP model was then used to evaluate the future performance of the energy-water system under climate change and policy scenarios. The coupled models required detailed data, which were obtained through literature reviews and consultations with key stakeholders in the region. As part of this process, the outputs of both models were validated for historic periods using existing data.

The models examined five policy scenarios of different futures of resource management to the year 2060. A future under current management practices with current climate and a climate projection based on the RCP8.5; a High Efficiency scenario where each country gradually implements policies to reduce the consumption of water and electricity; a Natural Resource Protection scenario with resource efficiency and phasing out of groundwater extraction and drastic reduction of fossil fuel usage in favor of solar; and an Integrated Policy scenario that integrates the prior two policy scenarios.

Water demands can mostly be met in any scenario through supply combinations of groundwater, desalination and wastewater reuse, with some regional fossil groundwater basins draw to extinction by 2060. While the analysis includes both demand and supply oriented scenarios, the results of the analysis strongly suggest that the region will need to simultaneously pursue demand- and supply-side policies to achieve more sustainable uses of water and energy into the second half of the 21st century.

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