Water experts have stressed the need for strengthening coordination between water and energy sectors for reducing inefficiencies in both sectors.
“Innovative and pragmatic national polices can lead to more efficient and cost-effective provision of water and energy services,” Dr Mujibur Rahman, professor of Department of Civil Engineering at Buet, told a meet-the-press program yesterday at the National Press Club.
He said the policymakers, planners and practitioners can take steps to overcome the barriers that exist between their respective domains.
The Department of Public Health Engineering, the United Nations Information Centre, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Bank, Bangladesh WASH Alliance, Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies (BCAS) and the NGO Forum for Public Health jointly organized the program, marking the World Water Day.
Chaired by executive director of BCAS Dr Atiq Rahman, the program was addressed, among others, by former executive director of Institute of Water Modeling (IWM) Emad Uddin Ahmed, Vice-Chancellor of Stamford University Prof Dr M Feroze Ahmed and chief engineer of the Department of Public Health Engineering Engr M Nuruzzaman.
In his power-point presentation on the thematic issue, Dr Mujibur Rahman said water is required to produce nearly all forms of energy, and energy is needed at all stages of water extraction, treatment and distribution.
He said the demand for freshwater and energy will continue to increase significantly in the coming decades and this increase will present big challenges and strain resources in nearly all regions, especially in developing and emerging economies.
“As a general trend, energy and electricity consumption is likely to increase over the next 25 years in all regions of the world, with the majority of this increase occurring in developing countries.”
Dr Mujibur said it is estimated that global energy consumption will increase by around 49 percent from 2007 to 2035. This increase in energy consumption will be higher in non-OECD countries (84 percent) than in OECD countries (14 percent).
He said the anticipated water requirements for energy production will increase by 11.2 percent by 2050 if current consumption modes are kept. “The demand for water is projected to increase by 50 percent within the next 40 years, while competition for water among multiple users and uses is already escalating,” he added.
About the correlation between water and energy, Prof Mujibur said more than 30 percent of operational cost of water is represented by the cost of energy needed to manage water while roughly 75 percent of all industrial water withdrawal is used for energy production.
Dr Atiq Rahman said Bangladesh is one of the most inefficient water users in the world. “We must be more efficient in water use.”
About the regional water management, he said Nepal has a huge potential of hydropower. “Nepal will be the highest hydro-king in the world…Bhutan has increased it GDP manifold in the last few years by exporting their hydroelectricity to India.”
Dr Atiq said the government has been given the highest subsidy to power sector in urban centres. “If that can be done, why rural people won’t get subsidised power?” he questioned.
Water & energy sectors’ coordination stressed