Lake Hollywood Reservoir. Photo: Kathryn Donohew Photography / Getty Images

As concerns about water scarcity and energy security increase, it can be beneficial to take a holistic view of water and energy policy and infrastructure. Examining both the water and energy sectors together – and studying the ways they interact – can help policy-makers plan for a changing climate, as well as economic and demographic shifts.

This brief considers the water-energy nexus (WEN) in Los Angeles and Beijing, two of the largest cities in the United States and China, respectively. The US and China play important roles in the global water-energy nexus; together, they account for 33% of global energy production, 38% of global energy consumption, and 27% of global water withdrawals.

In this brief, researchers assess the policy coherence between the water and energy sectors in each city, examining the degree to which policies in one sector work in sync with the other sector. The more in sync, the greater the reliability of the sector and resource.

The authors also look at the policies’ institutional settings, and then highlight some of the key enabling and hindering factors for cross-sectoral policy integration.