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Water-energy Nexus Demand Estimation Framework for Urban Formal and Slum Households in Developing Countries: A Case Study in Pune, India

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Yuanzao Zhu1, Christian Klassert1, Bernd Klauer1, and Erik Gawel1  

(1) Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ Leipzig, Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology, Leipzig, Germany -- 

December 2019 American Geophysical Union meeting, San Francisco, California 

Abstract : Rapid urbanization over recent decades exerts increasing pressure on water and energy supply systems in developing countries. On the demand side, household water and energy uses are often interlinked. People frequently rely on energy-intensive coping strategies to handle insufficient and intermittent public water supply, such as pumping water into storages, abstracting well water, and filtering water from low quality sources. Furthermore, many household activities, such as cooking and bathing, involve energy and water as complements. A thorough understanding of the water-energy nexus at the household level could greatly improve integrated resource management, but few econometric studies explicitly reflect nexus linkages between water and energy demand. 

We develop a water-energy nexus demand estimation framework to investigate demand-side nexus linkages in developing countries. We conduct a case study of Pune, India, where faulty and inequitable water and energy distribution infrastructures pose daily challenges to formal and slum households. We rely on 23,326 household-level observations for Maharashtra from national surveys and data from an in-depth household survey on water and energy consumption. The in-depth survey covers water and energy use from various sources, consumption activities, and other household characteristics in 120 interviews with formal and slum households. We link both datasets to estimate water-energy demand functions and linkages for different types of urban households. Our estimates identify multiple factors such as household size, income and resource price as having a significant impact on households’ nexus resource demands. We show both substitutional and complementary relationships between household water and energy use. We find that an increase in electricity consumption improves households’ capacity to cope with limited municipal water supply. 

Our analysis indicates that the management of water and energy should not be considered in isolation, as demands for the two resources are interlinked. The water-energy nexus demand estimation framework developed can also be of value for further integrated assessments: our demand estimates will be used to explore supply-side and demand-side strategies for nexus management in a hydro-economic multi-agent model.