University of Southern California The USC Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering

Energy-Water Nexus 

Water plays an important role in the world's economy and is one of the largest driving factors in energy production. As the world's energy production continues to increase, so will the world's consumption of water; the relationship between water and energy is a strong one and until recently, has been nearly unacknowledged.

The important nexus between energy and water, the increasing dependence of energy production on the use of water and of water production on the use of energy, lead the USCEI to spearhead an effort to develop a broader understanding of the interactions between energy and water.

Water and energy prices are going to be rising with increasing volatility which is part of the reason why water agencies need to find ways to reduce the energy intensity of delivering water and energy providers need to find ways to reduce the water intensity of producing energy.

If these increased dependencies are not reduced, water and energy agencies alike will find themselves with large carbon footprints which could become a liability under future legislation that moves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, as new sustainable technologies are being developed to reduce climate change, more water will be needed in these areas especially in practices like carbon sequestration or producing biofuels.


  • Evaluate the interactions of energy, water, and the climate.
  • Find sustainable solutions to the water-energy problem.