Development of a Framework for Assessment of Water-Energy Demand and Supply in Energy Sector

  • Author / Creator
    Dar, Anum Fahim
  • Water resource planning and management has become more challenging over the years. To make well-informed long-term system planning decisions, policy makers and resource managers need to fully comprehend the water-energy nexus. There is a scarcity of tools for integrated assessment of greenhouse gases and water footprints for various energy demand and supply scenarios. The overall aim of this research is to develop a framework to address this gap and use this developed framework for the Province of Alberta. The study includes a general overview of Alberta’s water resources (surface and ground water), a brief introduction to energy demand and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water allocation patterns for various demand sectors, and framework development of a model for Alberta’s major river basins. The Water Evaluation And Planning (WEAP) software is used as a modeling tool in this study, and the timeframe considered is the 42-year period from 2009 to 2050. Based on current water, energy, and economic dynamics, different scenarios were developed for various sectors. The WEAP model evaluates the water demand and supply based on a sector-wise forecast. It analyzes the patterns of water demand and the effects on the health of the water resources for the future economic developments in the regions. Its integration with the Long-range Energy Alternative Planning System (LEAP) model is also assessed. The LEAP-WEAP integrated scenarios for Alberta provide a customized water-energy analysis on the basis of river basins. The output results from the model provide insight into varying patterns of water demands for different sectors under several scenarios, the return flows and consumption, unmet demand, and reliability of the supply source to meet the future needs along with the level of GHG emissions. The model estimates that the percentage reduction of the total amount of water in the Athabasca River region is 9.27% (both surface and ground water resources inclusive) in 2050 if the oil sands expansion continues at the current water withdrawal level. The Bow River will undergo a 0.65% flow reduction, and the Peace River Basin will see smaller reductions in overall flow of 0.37%. The water return will drop with the increase in water-demanding activities over the forecast period till 2050. The integrated LEAP-WEAP results indicated that the in-situ is a less water intensive but more emissions intensive method of bitumen recovery than surface mining. In the integrated LEAP-WEAP power generation scenario, GHG emissions and water demand from 2009 to 2050 are reduced by around 50% and 65%, respectively. These different scenario outcomes can help the decision makers in understanding the water-energy nexus in a quantifiable way and to formulate policies or make strategic investment decisions towards sustainable development. The results also highlight the energy demand sectors that need attention because of their high GHG emissions and water demand.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2015
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.