Building a Water-Energy Nexus Modelling Tool for New York City (Civil Project)

Increasing demands for energy and water from a growing urban population challenges resource availability and infrastructure capacity in cities worldwide. Planning for infrastructure systems development to meet growing demands has traditionally been done separately, not regarding that these systems are in many aspects interlinked.

New York City has well developed systems for supplying these basic needs, but they are among the oldest in the country and may not suffice the needs of a growing population. Meanwhile, ambitious city-planning documents recognize opportunities for holistic planning focused on resource efficiency and long-term sustainability.

This thesis aims to develop a foundation for quantitative modelling of how water and energy consumption may be affected by political decisions in New York City.

The MARKAL (MARKet ALlocation) framework, commonly used to model long-term energy systems developments, is expanded to include the NYC’s water system. Relevant water system technologies are quantified with economic parameters, energy input and greenhouse gas emissions to give an as realistic as possible description of the entire water system.

When combined with the existing MARKAL-model over NYC’s energy system, the test runs of the model clearly shows impacts on energy consumption from water system regulations. These preliminary results are not applicable to support urban policy-making at this stage.

However, with further development of the model as well as improvements in data quality it is perceived that this integrated water-energy model has the potential to become a powerful decision support tool for joint planning of water and energy systems developments in New York City.
Source: Uppsala University
Author: Segerström, Rebecka

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