water energy nexusAs analyzed by the United Nations after the Earth Summit, man needs three basic things—water (W), energy (E) and food (F)—which are all interconnected.
According to First Philippine Holdings Corporation corporate sustainability officer Agnes de Jesus, energy is needed for the water sector for pumping, wastewater treatment, desalination and water distribution, among other purposes.
On the other hand, water is needed by the energy sector for the cooling tower of power plants, fuel extraction and hydropower generation. Water is needed for food in irrigation and processing. Energy is needed for food processing, harvesting, storage etc. Food is used as fuel for bioenergy production.
The quality and quantity of the WEF—natural resources or raw materials—are provided by nature. It is important therefore to maintain the integrity of the environment so that it will continue to deliver optimum services to all sectors, De Jesus continued.
The best way to assure this is to use the catchment or the watershed as a planning and management unit. The catchment is comprised of the land, water and people in a geographic space, from the lowest point which is the river, to the highest wall or mountain divide. The economic growth and social and environmental wellbeing of man all happen within this physical boundary. Thus, it is important to know what is the quantity and quality of WEF in the catchment, the locators or users of the WEF and, finally, to do a natural resource accounting to ensure all needs of locators in the catchment are served for coexistence.
Implied in this natural resource accounting and budgeting is the shared responsibility of all sectors—local government units, communities and industries—to maintain the integrity of nature in that space to contribute to the sustainability of man and nature.