University of Texas at Austin

The Water-Energy Nexus

Though the Water-Energy Nexus is a well-worn phrase these days, it signifies the very real relationships and intersections between water and energy resources, both of which are vital for healthy economies and societies. Understanding these connections is also vital as population grows and these resources become more complicated to manage. In Texas, for example, population is expected to increase 40% over the next 40 years or so. One study recently completed for Congress by the U.S. Department of Energy and Sandia National Laboratories concluded that "trends in energy use, water availability, and water demand suggest that the U.S. will continue to face issues related to the development, utilization, and management of the critical resources of water and energy." With the intense interest now being focused on alternative (solar, wind, biofuels, etc.) and unconventional (shale gas and shale oil) sources of energy, the connections among energy, water, and land are even more important to both State and National interests. Understanding these connections and how they react to change are vital goals in research that that can contribute to and shape public policy and decision making. Researchers at the Bureau of Economic Geology focus on understanding these connections through a wide range of environmental research that highlight these relationships.
These webpages are designed to provide a flavor of the diversity and depth of research being conducted at BEG. The pages are subdivided into brackish water resources and water treatment, water use in energy exploration and production (mostly unconventional energy) and water use in the electricity generation sector. We invite visitors to read about and ponder the research being done at BEG and to download reports, papers and presentations. The researchers, staff and students at BEG are passionate about the work being done here, and are excited about how data and information are used to address societal issues for decision makers and stakeholders.