The World Resource Institute estimates that Spain will become a severely water stressed region by 2030 in all of its future scenarios considered. Getting water to the south-eastern basins will become a top political concern of critical importance. The issue is not a new one and several strategies have been proposed in the past, the most famous being the Ebro-River basin transfer program and the AGUA program each supported by different governments. In addition to the need for physical water in the southern basins the situation is complicated further by the possibility of different energy pathways taken by Spain in meeting emission requirements and other EU regulations. This paper explores the different options for water security, while considering the impacts of climate change on temperature, water availability and power plant cooling needs as well as the impacts of different energy strategies such as the penetration of nuclear, biofuels and other renewable technologies into the energy mix. The water strategies considered include combinations of inter-basin transfers, desalination, groundwater pumping, rain-water harvesting, reuse as well as end user demand management in both the energy and water sectors. A fully integrated water-energy nexus model, SPATNEX, is used to analyze the coupled water-energy system. The model accounts for the complete life-cycle of both systems and is both spatially and temporally dis-aggregated. Optimal strategies for different scenarios are explored and a robust combination of the different options available are proposed to deal with a range of situations.
Keywords: Energy, water, nexus, integrated planning
Registration date: 2016-07-13