World Water Day 2014: AfDB and the water-energy nexus
Water and energy are closely interlinked and interdependent. Energy generation and transmission requires utilization of water resources, particularly for hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy sources.
Global perspectives on usage of water for energy and food are converging. The flashpoint from the water-energy nexus indicates the need to address inequities, share the resources more widely and use them more efficiently. This requires the development of policies and cross-cutting frameworks that bridge sectors and ministries, leading the way to energy security and sustainable water use in a green economy. Particular attention is being paid to identifying best practices that can make a water- and energy-efficient “green industry” a reality.
What is the Bank doing?
The African Development Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy 2013-2022 aims to achieve inclusive and green growth. Both these principal themes in the Strategy require cross-sectorial collaboration within and outside the Bank to address these new priorities in Bank-financed projects and programs.
Tracking progress of the Bank’s new Ten-Year Strategy (TYS) is essential. The Bank Group’s Results Measurement Framework focuses at the level of development progress in Africa (Level 1), the Bank’s contribution to development in Africa (Level 2), the Bank’s operational performance (Level 3), and its organizational efficiency (Level 4).
The AfDB’s Water and Sanitation Department (OWAS) recognizes the need to increasingly play a leadership role in the water sector on the continent. The AfDB plays a vital role in the socio-economic development of its Regional Member Countries (RMCs) and is therefore strategically positioned to assume a frontline role in the development dialogue with Africa. This is an area of comparative advantage and strength which facilitates effective dialogue in the water sector on difficult issues such as sector reforms, water security and adaptation to climate change.
The Department has developed a long-term multi-sector program in Kenya which hits Bank targets for green and inclusive growth, and also mitigates the effects of climate change. The four-phase Thwake Multi-Purpose Water Development Program comprises the construction of a 77-metre rockfill dam, the development of 20 MW of green hydro-power, in addition to the provision of water supply, sanitation and waste water infrastructure for a large rural area and as well as an ICT city, and provides irrigation capacity within the semi-arid counties of Kitui and Makueni. The program will strengthen drought resilience and make the target counties more water secure and food independent thereby contributing to food security and poverty reduction.
The Bank’s Water and Sanitation Department builds capacity through a series of periodic seminars called “Knowing Water”. One of the latest events was held at the Bank’s regional office in Nairobi. In order to better appreciate the opportunities between water supply and energy supply, OWAS hosted a seminar on the development of pico- and micro-power through the optimization of drinking water supply and sewage systems. The selected systems can use Francis turbines or Pelton wheel turbines to convert available excess pressure in water supply lines or treated sewage lines into alternating current for on-site use or distribution to the grid. This is one of the many ways the Bank’s Water and Sanitation Department is striving to fulfill its leadership role in promoting collaboration around water on the continent.