World Water Day 2014 highlights the interdependence of water and energy. This “nexus” occurs in hydropower generation, but also in the use of cooling water in caloric or nuclear power stations with ecological implications for example through thermal pollution. Conversely, about 8 percent of the global energy generation is used for pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers according to “UN Water”.
Especially with regards to hydropower, the ICPDR has pursued activities that should be noted on the occasion of this World Water Day. As an essential step in maintaining a dialogue with the hydropower sector, the ICPDR adopted "Guiding Principles on Sustainable Hydropower Development in the Danube Basin" last year. Currently, this document is being translated into several languages through individual ICPDR member countries and applied in national policies – but it will also be taken into consideration for the 2nd Danube River Basin Management Plan which is currently being developed until end of next year.
Like other forms of renewable energy, hydropower cannot be considered as sustainable per se due to different negative environmental impacts, for example on fish populations, sediment transport or adjacent wetlands. The aim of the “Guiding Principles” is to get the right balance between economic and environmental needs: guidance on how to address problems of existing hydropower facilities and – highly important for potential facilities - for where and how to develop relevant infrastructure in the future.
The “Guiding Principles” are primarily addressed to public bodies and competent authorities responsible for the planning and authorization of hydropower. This includes in particular bodies on the national, regional and local level in charge of energy, environment and water management. Furthermore, they also provide relevant information for potential investors in the hydropower sector as well as NGOs and the interested public. They can be downloaded below, learn more about them here.