We have now determined just how important it is to understand the relationship and ramifications of the water-energy nexus, both globally and in our own backyard. Understanding the nexus between water and energy will help us optimize the use of both to meet the State water and energy needs in the future within the context of climate extremes (floods and droughts) and climate change. With increasing awareness, trade offs, and technological advancements we can begin to address the problem of water scarcity, increased energy demand, and changing landscapes. An example of the movement towards change to satisfy demand with limited resources is Planet Texas 2050.
We expect easy access to clean drinking water every day. Reliable electricity 24/7. Clean air, a stable economy, and a safe place to live. These are critical for healthy, thriving communities. Take any one of these away, and our wellbeing and livelihoods can deteriorate quickly.1https://bridgingbarriers.utexas.edu/planet-texas-2050/#goal
Texas’ population today is nearly 28 million. By 2050, that number is projected to double to 55 million, with most people clustered in already-dense urban centers like Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. Limited resources will be in even greater demand. Add to that the environmental stress from prolonged droughts, record-breaking heat waves, and destructive floods that will increasingly challenge water and energy resource managers.2https://bridgingbarriers.utexas.edu/planet-texas-2050/#goal
Affiliated with The University of Texas at Austin, Planet Texas 2050 is a project that bridges multiple research areas to create lasting solutions for the state’s growing population and increasing demand for natural resources. Through various research areas and academic disciplines such as geosciences, engineering, architecture, law, and so on, various projects have been implemented under the common goal, “sustaining critical resources.” Currently, Planet Texas 2050 has four resources systems, critical for life on Earth, that are addressed, including:3The University of Texas at Austin. (2021, March 31). Planet Texas 2050. Bridging Barriers. https://bridgingbarriers.utexas.edu/planet-texas-2050/
- Ecosystem Services
Watch the video here to view how Planet Texas 2050 is bridging the challenges to create lasting solutions for resilient resource systems, all required to sustain life on Earth. How might you be involved in addressing this challenge for the future?
Image Credits: Photo Courtesy of The University of Texas at Austin