Publications / SAND Report

Decision support for integrated water-energy planning

Tidwell, Vincent C.; Kobos, Peter H.; Malczynski, Leonard A.; Hart, William E.; Castillo, Cesar R.

Currently, electrical power generation uses about 140 billion gallons of water per day accounting for over 39% of all freshwater withdrawals thus competing with irrigated agriculture as the leading user of water. Coupled to this water use is the required pumping, conveyance, treatment, storage and distribution of the water which requires on average 3% of all electric power generated. While water and energy use are tightly coupled, planning and management of these fundamental resources are rarely treated in an integrated fashion. Toward this need, a decision support framework has been developed that targets the shared needs of energy and water producers, resource managers, regulators, and decision makers at the federal, state and local levels. The framework integrates analysis and optimization capabilities to identify trade-offs, and 'best' alternatives among a broad list of energy/water options and objectives. The decision support framework is formulated in a modular architecture, facilitating tailored analyses over different geographical regions and scales (e.g., national, state, county, watershed, NERC region). An interactive interface allows direct control of the model and access to real-time results displayed as charts, graphs and maps. Ultimately, this open and interactive modeling framework provides a tool for evaluating competing policy and technical options relevant to the energy-water nexus.