Integrated Assessment of the water-energy Nexus: the water metabolism of hydraulic fracturing
This project is coordinated by the Autonomous University of Barcelona with Yale University as outgoing partner. Using the research lines of the partners, it aims at enhancing the potential of the integrated, multi-scale analysis of Water Metabolism of fracking activities to contribute to Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM).
Water connects human and ecosystem processes at different spatial-temporal scales which form part of the water-energy nexus. IWRM aims at dealing with multiscale and nexus issues but due to its relative youth, its methodological body faces important analytical challenges like i) the connection between social and environmental levels of analysis, ii) the definition of the role water plays at these levels, iii) the nexus with other resources and iv) the integration of the stakeholder perspectives. The application of the Societal Metabolism metaphor to water helps scientists to deal with these weaknesses. The main issue faced by water scientists in the assimilation of Societal Metabolism is the different analytical approaches existent nowadays. This project brings together two of them that are complementary: Industrial Ecology and Complex System Theory.
Fracking is a fossil fuel extraction technology based on water injection in which the four challenges of IWRM explicitly reveal themselves. Fracking-driven shale gas extraction has affected global markets and local environments. The contradictory views about fracking are fed by partial studies of its economic and environmental consequences. Civil society, policy makers and academics claim for integrated analyses whose results allow better regulation and conflict resolution. To that end, we propose an integrated assessment of its water metabolism. Pennsylvania (US) will serve as primary case study. The insights will be used to build scenarios of implementation in the EU.
Start date: 5/1/2015
End date: 26/4/2018
Coordinator: Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona
Funding scheme: H2020 Programme
Budget: € 254.474,10