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Submitted by Diego Rodriguez on

The Bank's Thirsty Energy initiative focuses on water and energy, in response to demands from our client countries, and we analyze all water uses as part of our work. This also includes the use of economic tools to quantify economic and social trade-offs among all competing uses. The issue of sustainable water management is fundamental to our discussion and fundamental to the work of the Bank. This is just one of the many programs, projects, and activities through which the Bank assists our client countries in water.

You might be aware of the huge efforts at the Bank to help our clients meet water resource development challenges -- including water for agriculture, energy, climate change, water supply, etc. In this particular initiative, we are focusing our efforts on water and energy, working closely with governments, utilities and other stakeholders, to develop additional approaches that are refined for the context-specific situation of each country. Thirsty Energy works in partnership with countries to identify primary opportunities and constraints to water and energy development in an integrated fashion, thus also indicating priorities for further and more detailed analysis, as well as providing first-cut characterization of alternative sequences of investment in both sectors.

Regarding the last comment on hydropower, and as you have read in our website, Thirsty Energy's focus so far is on thermal power and upstream. Hydropower has always been part of the water conversation, but not upstream (oil and gas, mining, etc) and thermal power. However, thermal power plants, for example, account for 40% of freshwater withdrawals in developed countries. Thus, we are focusing on those to raise awareness on the issue and to ensure that energy planners take water resources into account to ensure sustainable water management. We are also using our initiative to raise awareness to the energy sector of the tradeoffs across all competing uses. Leaving "energy to take care of itself" as you say, will lead to unwanted and irreversible scenarios in the near future.

-Diego J. Rodriguez, Senior Economist, The World Bank