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SEI brief

Integrated water-energy-emissions analysis: Applying LEAP and WEAP together in California

This policy brief describes how the newly integrated WEAP and LEAP systems can be used to explore issues and tradeoffs at the water-energy nexus, and provides an example, looking at the potential impacts of desalination in California.

Vishal Mehta / Published on 24 August 2012

Mehta, V., and D. Yates (2012). Integrated water-energy-emissions analysis: Applying LEAP and WEAP together in California. SEI Policy Brief.

Climate, water and energy are intricately linked, so choices in any one sector can often reverberate across the others. To achieve the best possible outcomes, policy-makers need to understand cross-sector interactions and tradeoffs – the so-called ‘nexus’. This requires new tools for integrated analysis.

Seeking to meet this need, SEI has built a link between its water and energy decision support systems, which are already used in policy-making and planning around the world: the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) system, and the Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning (LEAP) system. The integrated tools allow users to model evolving conditions in both water and energy systems and examine cross-sectoral impacts of different policy choices.

The value of such integrated analyses is demonstrated here by a case study of the implications of meeting roughly 5% of Southern California’s current urban water demand with desalinated seawater through 2049. By linking a WEAP model of the U.S. Southwest with a LEAP model of California, the study was able to quantify the impact on water imports, electricity demand from the water sector, and greenhouse-gas emissions.

Download the policy brief (PDF, 1.1MB)

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