Reliance on water production by desalination as a solution to water scarcity is growing worldwide. High energy demands of seawater desalination raise new challenges for both water and energy management and highlight the importance of understanding the operational dependencies of the water sector on energy supplies. This study provides an in-depth analysis of the impact of the water-energy nexus in a desalination-based water sector, using Israel as a case study. Being large energy consumers, desalination plants are part of the Electricity Load Shedding Program (ELSP), which government energy regulators invoke in times of energy shortage. We focus on the interdependency between the two sectors as manifested at the time of ELSP utilization during an extreme heat wave. We show that energy shedding compensation is 6 to 14 times greater than the economic loss to the desalination plant from no water production, creating an obvious economic incentive to participate in ELSPs. However, this imbalance has a substantial negative impact on the water sector, which may compromise the level of service. Our evaluation concludes that the government authorities regulating water and energy need an official mechanism and policy for joint management strategies that can ensure economic efficiency and reduce the risk of power and water shortages during extreme events.
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© 2023, Springer Nature Limited.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Water Science and Technology
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law