Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Energy Science and Engineering

Major Professor

Ryan A. McManamay

Committee Members

Budhendra Bhaduri, Adam M. Taylor, Bruce E. Tonn


The interdependency of water and energy resources is known as energy-water-nexus (EWN). Water is necessary for energy production and energy is integral to water acquisition and distribution. The carbon emissions associated with both water and energy sectors drive climate change. Climate change in return poses increasing stress on the energy water nexus and makes tradeoffs between resources necessary and increasingly challenging, given the constraints and uncertainty around resources. This dissertation focuses on the tradeoffs between greenhouse gas mitigation and water conservation in the energy-water-nexus and how adaptation policy can influence these tradeoffs.To quantitatively understand these tradeoffs especially under future development pathways, a modeling framework is developed to first develop socioeconomic storylines that contain local information around energy water nexus, and a life cycle assessment model that quantifies the energy and water footprints for an energy system based on input data assessing various policy and technology pathways. In this dissertation, such a framework is developed and tested and applied in the context of shale gas production in Barnett Texas.Three collaborative research manuscripts developed for this dissertation are presented as three chapters following an Introduction and summed up with a Conclusion. Chapter 1 develops sub-national and sectoral extensions of the global shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs), as nested qualitative storylines, in order to identify future socioeconomic challenges for adaptation for the United States on national, regional and local scales. Chapter 2 develops a life-cycle assessment (LCA) model to evaluate the global warming potential and water scarcity footprints associated with multiple wastewater management options associated with shale gas production in the Barnett Shale play of Texas. Chapters 3 combines the two frameworks developed in Chapters 1 and 2, by testing the nested SSPs for Texas, by developing shared policy assumptions and quantifying them as input parameters to the LCA model, to evaluate energy and technology pathways around adaptation of hydraulic fracturing and water use in Texas. The Conclusion synthesizes the main findings from the three chapters and discusses opportunities to use the research to improve future policy decisions related to climate change and energy-water nexus.


The first chapter of this document was previously published in Global Environmental Change journal and here is the citation: Absar, S. M., & Preston, B. L. (2015). Extending the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways for sub-national impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability studies. Global Environmental Change, 33, 83-96.

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