Energy Criteria for Water Use

by Flora C. Wang, (M.ASCE), Research Scientist; Center for Wetlands, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.,
Robert Costanza, Research Asst. of Environmental Engrg.; Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.,
Howard T. Odum, Grad. Research Prof. of Environmental Engrg. and Dir. of Center for Wetlands; Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Water Resources Planning and Management Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 1, Pg. 185-203

Document Type: Journal Paper


The theory that water resources can be evaluated by their embodied energy is applied to examples. The energy effect of water is calculated as the energy flow of one type is produces in a specific use. Energy analysis is applied as an inclusive overview method for managing land and water resources. The analysis employs the conceptual tools of energy quality, embodied energy, and energy amplifer effect. A simple land-use model representative of the major land-use systems is formulated. The theory of selection for maximum power is applied and coupled with linear programming techniques to suggest an optimal method determining best use of water for combined economics of humanity and nature. The objective function is structured in terms of the total energy productivity of all the subsystems. The maximum power principle is employed as a more inclusive criterion than the usual profit or utility maximization. In the example applied to Lee County, Fla., the results are within the range of its current land distribution.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Land use | Hydro power | Water use | Water flow | Energy consumption | Energy methods | Coupling

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