The United Nations World Water Development Report 2014

Volume I - Water and Energy; Volume II - Facing the Challenges, Includes Data and Indicators Annex

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Water and energy are closely interconnected and highly interdependent. Choices made and actions taken in one domain can greatly affect the other, positively or negatively. Trade-offs need to be managed to limit negative impacts and foster opportunities for synergy. Water and energy have crucial impacts on poverty alleviation both directly, as a number of the Millennium Development Goals depend on major improvements in access to water, sanitation, power and energy sources, and indirectly, as water and energy can be binding constraints on economic growth – the ultimate hope for widespread poverty reduction. The Report provides a comprehensive overview of major and emerging trends from around the world, with examples of how some of the trend-related challenges have been addressed, their implications for policy-makers, and further actions that can be taken by stakeholders and the international community.




Between 2013 and 2015, annual economic growth is estimated to be around 6% in developing countries and around 2% in higher-income countries (World Bank, 2013a). As economies grow and diversify, they experience competing demands for water to meet the needs of more municipal and industrial uses, as well as agriculture. However, many people in the world still lack access to basic water and energy services (Section 1.1). Closing the energy gap could generate additional pressures on water resources given that water is needed for fuel extraction, for cooling and other processes in thermal power plants, and for turning turbines in hydropower plants (Chapter 3). Moreover, climate change can exacerbate already stressed energy and water scenarios through events such as extreme weather conditions and prolonged drought periods (Section 12.3).


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