Sustainability of public policy: Example from the energy-water nexus

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Assessing how well public policies support and advance sustainable planning and practice is an area of increasing interest, particularly with respect to resources management. The relationship between energy and water resources, commonly known as the energy-water nexus, is one such resource management area in which policy plays a major role. To evaluate the sustainability of specific policies, three recent energy-water nexus bills from the U.S. Congress were assessed based on five sustainability considerations, as follows: (1) creates new knowledge and/or resource management strategy that advances towards the goal of sustainability, (2) allows for flexibility in technology and management options, (3) promotes policy integration between different departments and agencies, (4) matches appropriated budget with anticipated savings or revenue, and (5) considers the long-term for reevaluation. Using these sustainability considerations, the energy-water nexus policies exhibit many characteristics of sustainable policy. These same sustainability considerations can form a strong foundation for formulation of sustainable public policy that maintains quality of life for current and future generations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA4015001
JournalJournal of Water Resources Planning and Management
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Energy
  • Policy
  • Sustainability
  • Water resources

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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