Combating Climate Change Impacts on Water availability and Energy Production

Lekan Oyebande

Abstract


Energy and water systems are closely inter-connected and need each other. Hydroelectric power (HEP) generation remains an important source of energy in Nigeria. Notable inefficiencies and deficiencies in cash generation have compelled the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to rely on fuel subsidies and government subvention for funding of capital projects with the resulting ever accumulating energy supply deficits. Incidentally, the energy sector is one of the main drivers of GHG emissions, hence of global warming and climate change. It contributed 140% increase during 1970-2004 to the growth of GHG emissions. Climate variability and change caused reduced inflows into dam reservoirs resulting in the drastic and steady drop in the hydroelectric power generated by dams the Kainji and other dams in Nigeria between 1973 and 1994 and in 2003. The phenomenon has exacerbated competition for water between energy and other sectors of the economy such as agriculture. Projected temperature increases during the 21st century are expected to increase the energy demand for cooling.

The national energy mix regime with less carbon intensive economy and with a decisive transition from crude oil to gas and, increasingly renewable, is the pathway to be pursued vigorously. An integrated water resources management (IWRM) approach should be followed. In particular, climate proofing of infrastructure should be applied at all stages in the project cycle: planning, design, construction, operation, and decommissioning. It will apply relevant adaptation and risk-management strategies as a necessary component of sustainable socio-economic development. The country’s policy makers should make renewable energy development a priority policy of government at all levels. Lawmakers should also develop appropriate legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks that de-emphasize over-dependence on fossil fuels and promote demand management for water and energy.


Keywords


Energy, water, climate change, mitigation,- adaptation, IWRM, infrastructure.

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References


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