CWEEE  Vol.7 No.1 , January 2018
Assessment of the Water-Energy Nexus in the Municipal Water Sector in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia
Abstract: When it comes to water and energy, it is hard to obtain one without the other. Water is required to produce energy and energy is necessary in water production and management. As demands for water are escalating due to rapid population growth and urbanization, understanding and quantification of the interdependency between water and energy, along with analyzing nexus interactions, trade-offs and risks are a pre-requisite for effective and integrated planning and management of these two key sectors. This paper performs an assessment of the water-energy nexus in the municipal sector of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, where the electric energy footprint in the water value chain (groundwater, desalination and wastewater treatment) and the water footprint in electric energy generation (thermal power plants) are quantified using data for the year 2013. The results confirmed the high and strong dependency on energy for the municipal water cycle in the Eastern Province and revealed that energy generation dependency on freshwater resources is also major and evident, especially at farther distances from the coastal areas. Thermal desalination is by far the most energy intensive stage among the entire Eastern Province water cycle. In 2013, it was estimated 13% of the Eastern Province energy generation capacity goes for desalination, that’s a 5% of the Kingdom capacity. Substantial energy input for desalination in the Eastern Province is attributed to the production and conveyance of water to the Capital Riyadh (48.9 kWh/m3 and 4.2 kWh/m3 respectively). As for groundwater pumping, it was estimated that 206.2 GWH was used for pumping 268 MCM in 2013 (0.764 kWh/m3). Energy requirement for primary, secondary and tertiary wastewater treatment was found to be the least (2 - 108 GWH) and was equivalent to an average of 0.4 kWh/m3. The water footprint in electricity generation was estimated to be about 739,308 m3 in 2013 (0.125 m3/kWh), a relatively higher value compared to the norm of gas combustion turbine cooling water requirement around the world, and is especially significant for water scarce Kingdom. Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emission was computed to be around 17 Million Ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) for the entire water supply chain, with desalination having the highest carbon footprint in the whole water cycle (16.9 MT of CO2e). Carbon emissions from electric energy generation through power plants had significantly exceeded the entire water supply chain’s carbon footprint. Alternative mitigation options of management and technology fixes are suggested to reduce energy consumption in the water cycle, minimize the water footprint in electric generation, and mitigate associated GHG emission.
Cite this paper: Al-Mutrafi, H. , Al-Zubari, W. , El-Sadek, A. and Gelil, I. (2018) Assessment of the Water-Energy Nexus in the Municipal Water Sector in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. Computational Water, Energy, and Environmental Engineering, 7, 1-26. doi: 10.4236/cweee.2018.71001.

[1]   Webber, M. (2011) The Nexus of Energy and Water in the United States. AIP Conference Proceedings, 1401, 84-106.

[2]   Stillwell, A., King, C., Webber, M., Duncan, I. and Hardberger, A. (2011) The Energy-Water Nexus in Texas. Ecology and Society, 16, 2.

[3]   Siddiqi, A. and Anadon, D. (2011) The Water-Energy Nexus in Middle East and North Africa. Energy Policy, 39, 4529-4540.

[4]   WWAP (United Nations World Water Assessment Programme) (2014) The United Nations World Water Development Report 2014: Water and Energy. UNESCO, Paris.

[5]   WITW (Water in the West) (2013) Water and Energy Nexus: A Literature Review. A Joint Program of Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Bill Lane Center for the American West.

[6]   Tabakovic, A. and Poci, E. (2012) Water and Energy Nexus in Middle East, North Africa, and the United States.

[7]   ESCWA (Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) (2012) Intergovernmental Consultative Meeting on the Water and Energy Nexus in the ESCWA Region. E/ESCWA/SDPD/2012/IC.1/2/REPORT.

[8]   Glassman, D., Wucker, M., Isaacman, T. and Champilou, C. (2011) The Water-Energy Nexus; Adding Water to the Energy Agenda. A World Policy Paper, World Policy Institute.

[9]   Keller, A., Tellinghuisen, S., Lee, C., Larson, D., Dennen, B. and Lee, J. (2010) Projection of California’s Future Freshwater Requirements for Power Generation. Energy & Environment, 21, 1-20.

[10]   Khatib, H. (2010) The Water and Energy Nexus IN THE ARAB REGION. Arab Water Report: Towards Improved Water Governance.

[11]   Granit and Lofgren (2010) Water and Energy Linkages in the Middle East, Regional Collaboration Opportunities, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

[12]   Pate, R., Hightower, M., Cameron, M. and Einfeld, W. (2007) Overview of Energy-Water Interdependencies and the Emerging Energy Demands on Water Resources. Sandia National Laboratories, United States Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

[13]   Mielke, E., Anadon, L. and Narayanamurti, V. (2010) Water Consumption of Energy Resource Extraction, Processing, and Conversion. Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge.

[14]   Meldrum, J., Anderson, S., Heath, G. and Macknick, J. (2013) Life Cycle Water Use for Electricity Generation: A Review and Harmonization of Literature Estimates. Environmental Research Letter, 8, Article ID: 015031.

[15]   WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development) (2009) Water, Energy and Climate Change. A Contribution from the Business Community.

[16]   MOWE (Ministry of Water and Electricity) (2013) Annual Report.

[17]   AFED (Arab Forum for Environment and Development) (2014) Institutional Challenges for Water-Energy Nexus, Arab Perspective.

[18]   Hardy, L., Garrido, A. and Juana, L. (2012) Evaluation of Spain’s Water-Energy Nexus. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 28, 151-170.

[19]   Kahrl, F. and Roland-Holst (2008) China’s Water-Energy Nexus. Water Policy, 10, 51-65.

[20]   Zubari, W. (2013) The Water-Energy Nexus in the GCC Countries Evolution and Related Policies. Sixth Zayed Seminar on Green Economy: Success Stories from the GCC, Arabian Gulf University.

[21]   CDSI (Central Department of Statistics and Information) (2013) Social and Demographic Statistical Report.

[22]   Ezilon Maps (2015).

[23]   Almulla, Y. (2014) Modelling Electricity and Water Desalination Demand in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries. MSc Thesis, KTH Industrial Engineering and Management, Sweden.

[24]   SWCC (Saline Water Conversion Corporation) (2013) Annual Report.

[25]   MOWE (Ministry of Water and Electricity) (2012) Supporting Documents for King Hassan II Great World Water Prize 2012. Nomination of Ministry of Water & Electricity Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

[26]   ECRA (Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority) (2013) Annual Report.

[27]   Rothausen, S. and Conway, D. (2011) Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Energy Use in the Water Sector. Nature Climate Change, 1, 210-219.

[28]   Wang, J., Sabrina, G., Conway, D., Zhang, L., Xiong, W., Holman, I. and Li, Y. (2012) China’s Water-Energy Nexus: Greenhouse-Gas Emissions from Groundwater Use for Agriculture. Environmental Research Letters, 7, Article ID: 014035.

[29]   Nelson, G., Robertson, R., Msangi, S., Zhu, T., Liao, X. and Jawajar, P. (2009) Greenhouse Gas Mitigation; Issues for Indian Agriculture, The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

[30]   Al-Alshaikh, A. (2014) A Comparison between MSF & MED Desalination Technologies. Presentation at the 2nd Saudi International Water Technology Conference.

[31]   Farooque, A., Jamaluddin, A., Al-Reweli, A., Jalaluddin, P., Al-Marwani, S., Al-Mobayed, A. and Qasim, A. (2004) Comparative Study of Various Energy Recovery Devices Used in SWRO Process. SWCC Technical Report No. TR.3807/EVP 02005.

[32]   Sobhani, R., Abahusayn, M., Gabelich, C. and Rosso, D. (2012) Energy Footprint Analysis of Brackish Groundwater Desalination with Zero Liquid Discharge in Inland Areas of the Arabian Peninsula. Desalination, 291, 106-116.

[33]   EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) (2002) Water and Sustainability: U.S. Electricity Consumption for Water Supply and Treatment.

[34]   SEC (Saudi Electricity Company) (2014) Direct Communication with Dammam Headquarter.

[35]   Meier, P., Wilson, P., Kulcinski, G. and Denholm, P. (2005) US Electric Industry Response to Carbon Constraint: A Life-Cycle Assessment of Supply Side Alternatives. Energy Policy, 33, 1099-1108.

[36]   Weisser, D. (2007) A Guide to Life-Cycle Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions from Electric Supply Technologies. Energy, 32, 1543-1559.

[37]   Hondo, H. (2005) Life Cycle GHG Emission Analysis of Power Generation Systems: Japanese Case. Energy, 30, 2042-2056.

[38]   Dones, R., Heck, T. and Hirschberg, S. (2003) Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Energy Systems: Comparison and Overview. Energy, 100, 2300.

[39]   Evans, A., Strezov, V. and Evans, T. (2009) Assessment of Sustainability Indicators for Renewable Energy Technologies. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 13, 1082-1088.

[40]   USEPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) (2010) Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data.

[41]   Dones, R., Heck, T., Emmenegger, M. and Jungbluth, N. (2005) Life Cycle Inventories for the Nuclear and Natural Gas Energy Systems, and Examples of Uncertainty Analysis. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 10, 10-23.

[42]   Hamed, O. (2014) Overview of Hybrid Desalination Systems-Current Status and Future Prospects. Presented at “Chemistry & Industry” Conference, King Saud University, Riyadh, 11-15 December.

[43]   Darwish, M. and Khaleel, M. (2014) Towards Practical Implementation of Solar Desalination in GCC. Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute, Presentation on the 5th Arab-German Energy Forum, Berlin.