Integrated energy-water-land (EWL) planning promotes synergies and avoids conflicts in ways that sector-specific planning approaches cannot. Many important decisions that influence emerging EWL nexus issues are implemented at regional (e.g., large river basin, electricity grid) and sub-regional (e.g., small river basin, irrigation district) scales. However, actual implementation of integrated planning at these scales has been limited. Simply collecting and visualizing data and interconnections across multiple sectors and sub-regions in a single modeling platform is a unique endeavor in many regions. This study introduces and applies a novel approach to linking together multiple sub-regions in a single platform to characterize and visualize EWL resource use, EWL system linkages within and among sub-regions, and the EWL nexus implications of future policies and investments. This integrated planning methodology is applied in the water-stressed Colorado River Basin in Argentina, which is facing increasing demands for agricultural and fossil fuel commodities. Guided by stakeholders, this study seeks to inform basin planning activities by characterizing and visualizing (1) the basin's current state of EWL resources, (2) the linkages between sectors within and among basin sub-regions, and (3) the EWL nexus implications of planned future agricultural development activities. Results show that water scarcity, driven in part by human demands that have historically reached 60% of total surface water supply, poses a substantial constraint to economic development in the basin. The Colorado basin has the potential to serve as a testbed for crafting novel and generalizable sub-regional EWL planning approaches capable of informing the EWL planning dialogue globally.
Integrated energy-water-land nexus planning in the Colorado River Basin (Argentina)
Wild, T. B., Khan, Z., Clarke, L., Hejazi, M., Bereslawski, J. L., Suriano, M., Roberts, P., Casado, J., Miralles-Wilhelm, F., Gavino-Novillo, M., Munoz-Castillo, R., Moreda, F., Zhao, M., Yarlagadda, B., Lamontagne, J., & Birnbaum, A. (2021). Integrated energy-water-land nexus planning in the Colorado River Basin (Argentina). Regional Environmental Change, 21(3), . https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-021-01775-1