Seasonal Risk Assessment of Water-Electricity Nexus Systems under Water Consumption Policy Constraint

Mengfei Mu, Zhenxing Zhang, Ximing Cai, Qiuhong Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous studies have estimated power plant cooling water consumption based on the long-term average cooling water consumption intensity (WI: Water consumption per unit of electricity generation) at an annual scale. However, the impacts of the seasonality of WI and streamflow on electricity generation are less well understood. In this study, a risk assessment method is developed to explore the seasonal risk of water-electricity nexus based on the Integrated Environmental Control Model, which can simulate variable WIs in response to daily weather conditions and avoid underestimation in WIs as well as nexus risk during dry seasons. Three indicators, reliability, maximum time to recovery, and total power generation loss, are proposed to quantify the seasonal nexus risk under water consumption policy constraint represented by the allowed maximum percentage of water consumption to streamflow. The applications of the method in two representative watersheds demonstrate that the nexus risk is highly seasonal and is greatly impacted by the seasonal variability of streamflow rather than annual average water resources conditions on which most previous studies are based. The nexus is found more risky in the watershed with almost double mean annual streamflow and greater streamflow variability, compared with the watershed with less streamflow variability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3793-3802
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 7 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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