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ELEMENTA Sience of the Anthropocene


Thayer School of Engineering


Electric power is required to produce, treat, distribute, and recycle water while water is required to generate and consume electricity. Naturally, this energy-water nexus is most evident in multi-utilities that provide electricity and water but still exists when the nexus has distinct organizations as owners and operators. Therefore, the sustainability question that arises from energy-water trade-offs and synergies is very much tied to the potential for economies of scope. Furthermore, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, multi-utilities are not only common, but also the nexus is particularly exacerbated by the high energy intensity of the water supply due to limited fresh water resources. The goal of this paper is to identify and motivate several opportunities for enhanced integrated operations management and planning in the energy-water nexus in multi-utilities in the MENA. It proceeds in four parts. First, an exposition of the energy-water nexus especially as it applies to the MENA is given. This discussion focuses on the electric power system, the potable water distribution system, and thirdly, the wastewater distribution system. Second, the paper shifts to opportunities in integrated operations management highlighted by an energy-water nexus supply- side economic dispatch illustration. Thirdly, the discussion shifts to planning opportunities for the energy-water nexus for the sustainable development of water and energy resources. A concluding section summarizes the policy implications of the identified opportunities.



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