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Abstract

Access to affordable and reliable clean water and energy is necessary for economic development, health, and well-being of all people worldwide. Unavailable, unaffordable, or unreliable water and energy resources represent social and environmental injustices that disproportionately burden poor people, especially those in rural areas. Furthermore, there is an inextricable link between water and energy: clean water requires power for delivery and sanitation, and power production requires large amounts of water. This water-energy nexus connects two vital resources for humanity with more attention to economic concerns than to human or environmental issues. This paper addresses social and environmental justice issues that confront rural populations with little or no access to clean water and affordable energy. Local examples of grassroots efforts to produce and provide access to clean water and affordable energy in remote communities and rural areas offer innovations intended to ameliorate daily deprivation of necessary resources. Indeed, the water-energy nexus is so enormous, and risks further exacerbation if global efforts to build capacities to sustain environmental resources continue to lag or fail to develop. Domestically and internationally, the interconnectivity of water and energy cannot be ignored for a sustainable future for the world’s population.

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