Potable Water pp 125-151 | Cite as

The Effects of Water–Energy Nexus on Potable Water Supplies

  • Sarah LawsonEmail author
  • Qi Zhang
  • Mimansha Joshi
  • Tzu-Han Pai
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 30)


Feedbacks between water and energy complicate the daunting task of supplying safe drinking water to a growing population. Potable water treatment and distribution require large quantities of energy and at present largely rely on fossil fuels. While the available fuel source dwindles, the demand for energy to supply drinking water will likely increase due to a growing global population, higher demand for enhanced water treatment and distribution, and the necessary use of energy-intensive alternative water sources such as wastewater and saline water. Electricity production also requires significant quantities of water and may be in direct competition for freshwater resources with potable water supply. The quantity of water used in electricity production will likely increase in future years with rising electricity demand and changes in electricity production. Electricity production can also contaminate water supply sources. Finally, climate change is affecting precipitation patterns and water demand, which will further complicate supplying drinking water to a growing population. This chapter provides an overview of the ways in which the water–energy nexus creates challenges and opportunities in meeting potable water demand.


Water–energy nexus Climate change Water treatment and distribution Electricity generation Freshwater supply 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Lawson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Qi Zhang
    • 2
  • Mimansha Joshi
    • 3
  • Tzu-Han Pai
    • 4
  1. 1.Departments of Environmental Studies & Science and PhysicsRandolph CollegeLynchburgUSA
  2. 2.Nicholas School of the EnvironmentDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  3. 3.School of Environment, Resources and Development, Asian Institute of TechnologyPathumthaniThailand
  4. 4.H2O Clinical LLC.CockeysvilleUSA

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