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Water-energy-food nexus: Concepts, questions and methodologies

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The water-energy-food nexus has gained increasing attention in the research communities as the security of water, energy and food becomes a very high concern due to future uncertainties. Studies pertaining to calculations of flows and dependencies between different resources, assessments of technology and policy applications, and quantifications of system performance have been conducted to understand their interlinkages and develop management options. This paper provides a state-of-the-art review on the concepts, research questions and methodologies in the field of water-energy-food. First, two types of nexus definition are compared and discussed to understand the nature of nexus research issues. Then, nexus research questions are summarized into three themes: internal relationship analysis, external impact analysis, and nexus system evaluation. Eight nexus modelling approaches are discussed in terms of their advantages, disadvantages and applications, and guidance is provided on the selection of an appropriate modelling approach. Finally, future research challenges are identified, including system boundary, data uncertainty and modelling, underlying mechanism of nexus issues and system performance evaluation. This review helps bring research efforts together to address the challenging questions in the nexus research and develop sustainable and resilient water, energy and food systems.

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... Foi reconhecida a perspectiva do NEXO para os sistemas de gestão das águas, produção energética e segurança alimentar, elementos estratégicos para se alcançar o desenvolvimento pretendido. No entanto, de acordo com Zhang et al. (2018), não houve consenso quanto à definição conceitual dessa abordagem recém-formulada, emergindo diferentes interpretações entre setores econômicos distintos, em diferentes contextos e por diferentes pesquisadores. ...
... Ao mesmo tempo, Ferraço e Moraes (2019) propuseram uma conceituação de NEXO útil às pesquisas e práticas jurídicas no âmbito do direito ambiental no Brasil, no intuito de promover melhorias na eficácia na gestão e proteção dos recursos naturais, ressaltando o caráter inovador da abordagem pelo seu caráter multicêntrico. Zhang et al. (2018) concebem duas possíveis categorias de definições para o NEXO atualmente. A primeira diz respeito às interconexões entre os três elementos (água, energia e alimento) e como estas ocorrem na dinâmica de processamento, oferta, distribuição e consumo. ...
... Essa categoria enfatiza uma visão holística, já que colapsos em um dos setores podem ser fatais para os demais. Zhang et al. (2018) dão como exemplo o caso dos biocombustíveis que, ao assegurar a redução das emissões de carbono provenientes do uso dos combustíveis fósseis, acabam por intensificar a perda de biodiversidade e insegurança alimentar através das imensas monoculturas de grãos, tal como tecnologias de irrigação necessárias para tais monoculturas e de dessalinização da água levam a pressões no consumo de energia. ...
Book
Os Estados Nacionais, com destaque àqueles em desenvolvimento, enfrentam um difícil desafio no atendimento às crescentes demandas dos setores de alimentos, água e energia, possivelmente agravado com a intensificação das alterações climáticas. A adaptação efetiva às mudanças climáticas globais requer o uso eficiente de terra, água, energia, outros recursos e a integração de esforços que minimizem os impactos negativos e maximizem sinergias. No entanto, o processo de tomada de decisão geralmente segue uma abordagem, que não leva em conta as interconexões e interdependência entre os três setores (água, energia e alimento). Uma outra abordagem que vincula e avalia as estreitas relações entre os setores energia, água e alimentos, denominada NEXUS vem ganhando espaço, uma vez que compreende ações vinculadas a um sistema com potencial de afetar um ou mais setores. Nesse ambiente, a gestão energética, hídrica e alimentar estão intimamente ligadas e, portanto, devem ser geridas de modo integrado para atender de forma eficaz às necessidades de uma população mundial em constante crescimento de forma a prover Segurança Hídrica, Segurança Alimentar e Segurança Energética. Os esforços realizados até agora para compreender as interrelações dos setores não são suficientes, o que requer uma atenção mais regionalizada e atenta objetivando uma abordagem aderente a realidade socio-natural de uma situação concreta. O PROJETO NEXUS conseguiu realizar avanços científicos, técnicos e organizacionais. Tendo uma avaliação geral muito satisfatória. A abordagem NEXUS pode contribuir na adoção de medidas de adaptação às mudanças climáticas e ajudar, assim, a reduzir as vulnerabilidades alimentar, hídrica e energética, aumentando o uso de recursos de forma eficiente e incentivando uma maior coerência política e eficácia dos planos de adaptação. A referida abordagem emerge como metodologia no contexto no Fórum Econômico Mundial de 2008 com a divulgação posterior do relatório “Water Security: The Water-Energy-Food-Climate Nexus”, visando aumentar a conscientização de como a água está ligada ao crescimento econômico em diversos âmbitos e de como a manutenção do padrão de negócios vigente impõe um grande desafio para a segurança hídrica. Do ponto de vista científico, a abordagem do conceito de NEXUS tem como marco a Conferência de Bonn na Alemanha em 2011. Apesar da metodologia NEXUS ter apresentado uma rápida difusão no meio científico com a publicação de inúmeros artigos e trabalhos empíricos, não há um consenso sobre a definição conceitual de tal abordagem. Diante das diferentes conceitualizações presentes na literatura, com variação dos setores abrangidos até a forma de aplicação do NEXUS, é importante destacar o seu principal aspecto, que é a multidimensionalidade e interdependência da segurança hídrica, alimentar e energética, promovendo uma migração de decisões setoriais isoladas para uma abordagem multisetorial e uma visão holística. A governança brasileira da mudança climática e seus vínculos à água, alimentos e energia são ordenados pela Política e Plano Nacional sobre Mudança do CLIMA (PNMC). Nesse ordenamento, a Rede Brasileira de Pesquisas sobre Mudanças Climáticas Globais (Rede CLIMA) constitui-se em um importante pilar de apoio às atividades de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento do PNMC para atender às necessidades nacionais de conhecimento sobre mudanças do clima, incluindo a produção de informações para formulação de políticas públicas. Nesse contexto, o Projeto Integrativo Segurança Hídrica, Alimentar e Energética (PI-SHAE), aqui apresentado, buscou avaliar soluções sustentáveis, para promover uma produção agrícola integrada à manutenção e bom uso dos recursos hídricos e à geração de energia, diante dos cenários de aquecimento global e mudanças climáticas no Brasil. O PI-SHAE circunscrever-se-á a Bacia do Rio São Francisco, região-piloto para as análises, considerando os elevados conflitos potenciais (ambientais e sociais), e seguindo orientação do Ministério de Ciência Tecnologia Inovação (MCTI). Assim, a presente publicação apresenta os resultados do “Projeto de Pesquisa Integrativo Segurança Alimentar, Segurança Hídrica e Segurança Energética (SHAE)” submetido ao “Edital MCTIC/CNPq n° 19/2017 NEXUS I: Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento em Ações integradas e Sustentáveis para a Garantia da Segurança Hídrica, Energética e Alimentar dos Biomas Caatinga e Cerrado”. Este projeto objetivou analisar, identificar e mapear, de forma integrada e transversal o panorama da segurança alimentar, hídrica e energética na Bacia estendida do Rio São Francisco no contexto das mudanças climáticas utilizando a abordagem NEXUS Água, Energia e Alimento. A rede de pesquisa articulada em torno da proposta foi liderada pela Universidade Federal do Ceará (UFC), EMBRAPA, Instituto Federal de Alagoas (IFAL) e a Universidade Federal de Campina Grande (UFCG).
... Water, energy and food (WEF) are essential for human survival and sustainable socioeconomic development (Rasul and Sharma, 2016). The water, energy and food security nexus as a whole was first introduced at the World Economic Forum in 2008 and has received increasing attention from researchers, stakeholders and policy-makers since the Bonn Conference in 2011 (Putra et al., 2020;Zhang et al., 2018a;Zhang et al., 2019b). Water, energy and food are traditionally managed by different sectors, and they make up the three resource sectors of WEF (Albrecht et al., 2018;Liu et al., 2017a;Putra et al., 2020;Simpson and Jewitt, 2019). ...
... In 2011, the World Economic Forum called for more attention to the nexus among the three sectors (WEF, 2011;Zhang et al., 2019b). Since then, the concept of the WEF security nexus has been interpreted by researchers and international organizations from different perspectives and concerns (FAO, 2014;Zhang et al., 2018a). In general, the WEF security nexus can be interpreted from two aspects. ...
... In general, the WEF security nexus can be interpreted from two aspects. First, the nexus is taken as a method to analyse the relationships between the three resources; second, the nexus is indicated by the interactions among the three resources (Zhang et al., 2018a). Previous investigations identified four aspects of WEF security: availability, self-sufficiency, productivity and accessibility of the three resources (Flammini et al., 2014;Lee et al., 2012;Nhamo et al., 2020;Taniguchi et al., 2017;Zarei, 2020), and explored the interactions among the three sectors. ...
Article
Thoroughly understanding the security of water, energy and food (WEF) and the factors that influence them is essential for sustainable development management in any region. This study proposed a new analytical framework for WEF security evaluation in both individual sectors and the whole system, using the technique for order preference by similarity to an ideal solution (TOPSIS) and four dimensions of security indicators: availability, self-sufficiency, productivity and accessibility. The internal relationships among the three sectors and the main factors influencing WEF security were analysed by Spearman’s rank correlation and radar graphs, respectively. The five countries in Central Asia (CA), which are experiencing WEF crises and facing great challenges in achieving their sustainable development goals (SDGs), were chosen as a case study in this paper. Our results showed that Kazakhstan attained the highest WEF security level, followed by Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan; Tajikistan exhibited the lowest security level from 2000-2014. Three types of internal relationships among the three sectors were identified: synergies, trade-offs and unclassified. The unclassified relationship type accounted for the largest share of 54% in CA, suggesting great potential for synergetic improvement among the three sectors. Approaches for improving the country WEF security based on our research are as follows: Kazakhstan should prioritize food allocation and supply, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan should increase energy and food production and raise the supply level and usage efficiency of water and food, Turkmenistan should increase the available water resources and food production and improve the supply level and usage efficiency of water and energy, and Uzbekistan should both increase the available amount and enhance the WEF management performance.
... This nexus approach presents an indication of how water, energy, and food security can be sustainably enhanced by improving efficiency, forming synergies, reducing trade-offs, and improving governance across disparate sectors. Two categories of the definition of the WEF nexus have been put forward ( Zhang et al., 2018): 1) the WEF nexus may be defined as an interaction between subsystems or sectors within the nexus system, while 2) the more prevalent definition views the WEF nexus as an analytical approach used to quantify the interlinkages between each of the nexus nodes (water, energy, and food), which is also the approach that will be followed in this chapter. Developing any WEF nexus analysis, be it quantitative or qualitative, should be able to address two questions: "What are the available optimal strategies to sustainably manage the water, energy, and food resources?" ...
... Apart from the specific modelling tools discussed in section 2, other authors have proposed several quantitative modelling frameworks, approaches, or methodologies to assess the WEF nexus from more conceptual and systematic perspectives. Holistically, these modelling approaches fall under five categories including economic related, environmental assessment, systems analysis, statistical models, and indicators/metrics (Albrecht et al., 2018;Zhang et al., 2018). Again, it is not the aim of this chapter to provide a comprehensive overview of all possible modelling approaches, but rather to provide the reader with sufficient information to identify the type of approach suitable for their particular needs. ...
... The most widely used environmental impact assessment tool is the life cycle analysis (LCA). The method has the advantage of being able to accurately measure any unit during its life cycle while simultaneously identifying and quantifying all inputs and outputs that may pose a significant impact on the environment (Zhang et al., 2018). Various investigations employed LCA within a WEF nexus context. ...
Chapter
This chapter discusses some quantitative approaches and the data requirements for the analysis of a water–energy–food (WEF) nexus. Due to the increasing global population, urbanization, and the impact of climate change, the past two decades have seen a surge in demand for limited natural resources; the WEF nexus emerged in 2011 as an approach to mitigate the global challenges. Carrying out WEF nexus approach research often involves forming synergies between three components, reducing their trade-offs, and balancing competing priorities on various geographical scales. This chapter, therefore, highlights the scale of use, advantages, and disadvantages of often-used WEF nexus tools such as CLEWs, REMap, MuSIASEM, and the Water, Energy, Food Nexus Tool 2.0. The work shows that WEF nexus research is categorized under five modeling approaches that include economically related assessments, environmental assessment, systems analysis, statistical models, and indicators/metrics. Concerning the data requirements, this chapter emphasizes that data availability is the most limiting factor to carrying out high-quality WEF nexus research.
... Since these three resources are closely related, it is necessary to jointly solve water, energy and food issues to rationally utilize these three resources under limited resource conditions and to meet the needs of socioeconomic development. Therefore, the concept of the water-food-energy nexus (WFEN) was developed to address sustainability issues related to water, food and energy resources under climate change and socioeconomic development from an inter-disciplinary and cross-sectoral perspective (Hoff 2011;Zhang et al. 2018). ...
... Therefore, in network construction, this study focused on the water system and water use-related variables and simplified the remaining issues. In addition, under different research scales and concerns and scales of data statistics (Zhang et al. 2018), the application Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved. ...
Article
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Water competition is a key issue in the study of the water-food-energy nexus (WFEN), which can affect water, food, and energy security and can generate notable challenges in water resource management. Since Bayesian network can express parameter uncertainty with a certain probability distribution while reflecting the dependencies of each variable, this study used a Bayesian network to model the WFEN in the Pearl River Region (PRR). The network structure can intuitively represent complex causal relationships, and the form of the probability distribution can effectively reflect the variable uncertainty. The responses of the Bayesian network model under different scenarios were used to analyse the major influencing factors, and water competition relationships in various sectors were explored. The results indicated that water competition between the different sectors was very complex and could dynamically change under the different scenarios. For example, an increase in hydropower and flow to sea could lead to a decrease in irrigation water, but an increase in irrigation water did not necessarily reduce hydropower and flow to sea. Water for hydropower generation and salt tide alleviation were obviously affected by the total offstream water use, but there existed no obvious water competition between these aspects in general. However, when offstream water use remained stable, a competitive relationship was observed between hydropower and flow to sea. Overall, the outcomes of this study could be of great significance to further analyse the WFEN in other regions.
... While several literature reviews compare nexus models and methods (Endo et al., 2017;Kaddoura and El Khatib, 2017;Albrecht et al., 2018;Dai et al., 2018;Liu et al., 2018;Zhang et al., 2018;Abdi et al., 2020;Endo et al., 2020;Stylianopoulou et al., 2020;Purwanto et al., 2021;Vinca et al., 2021) and while new models and methodologies are necessary to advance any discipline, we found that there is a lack of and a strong need for quantitative comparison, validation, and assessment of the suitability of the large number of existing and upcoming nexus models. A good summary from Vinca et al. (2021) shows the range of methodologies across several nexus models. ...
... The conclusions from this paper reiterate several of these past recommendations but, in addition, highlight a concern that the scope of the nexus discipline is increasing in complexity and ambiguity as the number of new methodologies and studies grows. Several other past studies have compared nexus methodologies (Endo et al., 2017;Kaddoura and El Khatib, 2017;Albrecht et al., 2018;Dai et al., 2018;Liu et al., 2018;Zhang et al., 2018;Johnson et al., 2019;Endo et al., 2020;Stylianopoulou et al., 2020;Purwanto et al., 2021;Vinca et al., 2021), but to date these have been Frontiers in Environmental Science | www.frontiersin.org August 2022 | Volume 10 | Article 918085 qualitative due to the lack of any organized mechanism for quantitative comparisons. ...
Article
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Water, energy, and food are all essential components of human societies. Collectively, their respective resource systems are interconnected in what is called the “nexus”. There is growing consensus that a holistic understanding of the interdependencies and trade-offs between these sectors and other related systems is critical to solving many of the global challenges they present. While nexus research has grown exponentially since 2011, there is no unified, overarching approach, and the implementation of concepts remains hampered by the lack of clear case studies. Here, we present the results of a collaborative thought exercise involving 75 scientists and summarize them into 10 key recommendations covering: the most critical nexus issues of today, emerging themes, and where future efforts should be directed. We conclude that a nexus community of practice to promote open communication among researchers, to maintain and share standardized datasets, and to develop applied case studies will facilitate transparent comparisons of models and encourage the adoption of nexus approaches in practice.
... This will result in a limitation of resources that have been insufficient due to the competing needs and, therefore, it is important to ensure the sustainability of the scarce resources available. WFE nexus was introduced in 2008 at the World Economic Forum that targets for an integrated management of various fields to achieve "Sustainable Development Goals" (SDG) by their mutually fortified influences [2,3]. The interlinkages of the three sectors are contingent on each other, where water is used for energy generation, while energy is needed for water treatment, extraction and distribution [4]. ...
... Besides that, there is no study that has been carried out on the application of a three-nexus system locally, especially on the agricultural sector. The WFE nexus is therefore a suitable and strategic method to reduce the trade-offs between the separated sectors by creating a system and allowing sustainable development with the interconnectedness of the sectors [2]. ...
Article
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The water–food–energy (WFE) nexus is a strategic system that integrates different separated sectors by using their interconnectedness to reduce trade-offs and allow sustainable development by preventing future resource insecurity. Traditionally, the water, energy, and food sectors operate individually and result in different challenges such as resource scarcity, conflicts in the uses of upstream and downstream hydro systems, and power supply crises due to serious water pollution. Reports so far have only implemented the WFE nexus in countries and cities outside of Malaysia. In addition, there is yet to be a model in literature revolving only on optimizing the agricultural sector’s resources distribution. Hence, this paper aims to develop the first systematic and integrated model for optimal planning of resource allocation in Malaysia’s agricultural sector. The novelty and contribution of this research could be concluded as: (1) multi-objective planning incorporating economic and environmental factors such as economic benefits and carbon emission limit, (2) focusing on the agricultural sector considering geologically-specific crops, livestock, and residents, (3) considering the potential waste recycle systems including wastewater treatment and biomass treatment. The superstructure framework developed based on the case study in Perak, Malaysia aids the implementation of the WFE nexus system locally where trade-offs and synergies between the different sub-units are modelled. From the results, it can be concluded that irrigated paddy crops could contribute to a higher profit compared to palm oil and rubber crops. Thus, future development can be focused on irrigated paddy crops while meeting other constraints and demands to ensure the resources are optimally utilized. The multi-objective optimization solved using MINIMAX algorithm also provides decision-makers with a guideline on how to implement WFE nexus locally in the agricultural sector.
... The term water resources carrying capacity (WRCC) refers to the maximum population and the socioeconomic development scale that can be maintained by regional water resources at a certain level of social and economic development [1]. It is also a measure of water resources at a given spatial and temporal scale [2]. The purpose of research into WRCC is to identify a social and economic development model that matches the available water resources. ...
... This expands the spatial scale of the WRCC assessment. (2) Through the combination of multi-source data such as simulation data, remote sensing data, monitoring data, statistical data, and questionnaire survey data, the feasibility of applying multi-source data to carry out the evaluation of agricultural WRCC at the township scale was examined. (3) The key factors affecting the WRCC of townships were explored for different water use types and different development types in the study area. ...
Article
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The water resources carrying capacity (WRCC) strongly determines the agricultural development in arid areas. Evaluation of WRCC is important in balancing the availability of water resources with society’s economic and environmental demands. Given the demand for sustainable utilization of agricultural water resources, we combine the water stress index and comprehensive index of WRCC and use multi-source data to evaluate agricultural WRCC and its influencing factors at the township scale. It makes up for the deficiencies of current research, such as the existence of single-index evaluation systems, limited calibration data, and a lack of a sub-watershed (i.e., township) scale. By applying multi-source data, this study expands the spatial scale of WRCC assessment and establishes a multidimensional evaluation framework for the water resources in dryland agriculture. The results indicate water stress index ranges from 0.52 to 1.67, and the comprehensive index of WRCC ranges from 0.25 to 0.70, which are significantly different in different types of irrigation areas and townships. Water quantity and water management are key factors influencing WRCC, the water ecosystem is an area requiring improvement, and the water environment is not a current constraint. Different irrigation areas and different types of townships should implement targeted measures to improve WRCC.
... Different state-of-the art reviews were provided in 2018: on the one hand focusing of the climate risks and opportunities of implementing a WEF nexus approach [84]. On the other hand, concerning the concepts, research questions and methodologies in the field of water-energy-food [85]. Additionally, Nie et al. [86] combined data analytics and mixed-integer nonlinear modeling and optimization methods establishing the interdependencies and potentially competing interests among the FEW elements in the system. ...
... Albrecht et al. [83] x Review General Nhamo et al. [84] x Review General Zhang et al. [85] x Review General 2019 Nie et al. [86] x Multi-objective optimization General ...
Article
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The intensity in energy consumption due to food production systems represents a major issue in a context of natural resources depletion and an increasing worldwide population. In this framework, at least a third of global food production is being lost or wasted. Moreover, about 38% of the energy embedded in total food production is being lost. Consequently, the assessment of energy consumption in food systems, and in food loss and waste valorization systems, is an increasing trend in recent years. In this line, this work presents a systematic review, selecting 74 articles from a search of 16,930 papers regarding the key words “energy assessment food”. The aim was to determine the current and historical trends in this field of research. Results pointed to a worldwide acceleration in trends since 2014, standing out in China and other Asian countries. Concerning the topics of the publications, energy consumption in the food sector is a research field which has existed since 1979. Moreover, the study of energy valorization systems using food loss and waste is an increasing trend since 2010. Additionally, publications focused on the water–energy–food nexus appeared firstly in 2014 and have grown exponentially. Moreover, life cycle assessment highlights as the most widespread methodology used.
... The results of research into WEF systems can be broadly divided into two categories (Zhang et al., 2018). 1) The first is a qualitative interpretation of the nexus between water, energy, and food and relevant suggestions for effective cross-sectoral management (Cai et al., 2018). ...
Article
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Water, energy, and food are the basic resources on which human beings depend for survival and development. However, these resources, ecosystem, society, and economy interact with each other in highly complex and interlinked ways, that is, the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus, which is difficult to evaluate quantitatively, particularly whether there is a harmonious, matching, and benign interaction in the WEF system for a given spatial and temporal scale, that is, the WEF system suitability. Thus, we developed a comprehensive model for the WEF system suitability evaluation, including stability, coordination, and sustainability. The model mainly contains the index system construction, weight calculation, and TOPSIS evaluation method. Specifically, we proposed an improved weight calculation method (i.e., network assignment method) based on the network analysis method and Amal’s method. A case study in Sichuan Province, China, has shown that 1) the overall level of the WEF system suitability in Sichuan Province is above medium and shows a fluctuating trend; 2) in terms of the proportion of each indicator to the total, the contribution of coordination indicators to the comprehensive evaluation decreases slightly, and the contribution of sustainability indicators is greater, but the three remain in a balanced state, as evinced by good underlying conditions and potential for future development; 3) the network assignment method can obtain more suitable statistical characteristics (standard deviation, mean, maximum, and minimum) compared with the Entropy method, Amal’s method, and analytic network process method, which are consistent with the actual conditions in the study area. In general, the evaluation results obtained by the network assignment method can better characterize the nexus at the core of complex multi-resource systems and have significant advantages in the application of comprehensive evaluation of the suitability of WEF systems.
... As a matter of fact, water rights transfer is regarded as an effective way for realizing the flexible re-allocation of water resources between different sectors (Di et al., 2020). In general, allocation of water resources within a certain sector or among different sectors can be thought of as a "top-down" approach (Delorit et al., 2019;Momblanch et al., 2019;Zhang et al., 2018a), while water rights transfer beyond traditional method is a "top-down and bottom-up" approach. Thus, the concept of water rights transfer is particularly inspiring for addressing WEF nexus problems that call for the efficient management of water resources across food and energy sectors . ...
Article
Water rights transfer is significantly required for alleviating the ever-intensive water crisis, particularly for arid watersheds with abundant farmland and fossil fuels. However, focusing solely on the re-allocation of water rights and disregarding agricultural water saving potential imperil the security of Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus. Furthermore, randomness in water availability leads to water shortage risks and subsequent impact on the whole system. In this study, a risk-based optimization model (RWEF) was proposed to promote inter-sectoral water rights transfer through encouraging energy sector to invest in agricultural water-saving works and get paid back in water rights. Chance-constrained programming is incorporated to analyze the trade-offs between system benefits and water-shortage risks. The developed model was applied to the Inner Mongolia section of the Yellow River Basin, China to verify its effectiveness, considering different development levels of food and energy industries. Results indicated that 488 million m³ of water could be transformed from agriculture to energy, without compromising agricultural production. The main recipients of transferred water rights would be traditional coal-based industries, while it would be difficult for thermal power and most modern coal chemical industries to participate. The construction of water-saving works would help safeguard agricultural production under risks. Compared against two alternative models without water rights transfer mechanism, the average benefit acquired from RWEF under varied water-shortage risks would be at least 68% higher. Particularly, when confronted with extreme water-shortage risk and increased production demands, RWEF would still be able to support agricultural and energy production, while the alternative models being incapable.
... Further, the diminishing fresh surface and ground water resources, depletion of conventional fossil fuels, and rising environmental pollution stress the water-energy nexus. 1 The UN sustainable development goals 6, 7 are envisioned to address the growing concern of clean water and energy shortages by 2030. 2 The energy-water nexus describes the intricate interdependency of water and energy and is critical in choosing a water recovery or treatment technology to prevent the over exploitation of these resources. 3 Reverse osmosis (RO), a membrane-based process, has become the gold standard in seawater desalination, accounting for more than 60% of desalination plants worldwide. 4 The RO technology has become increasingly mature and now operates at a mere 2-3 times the theoretical minimum free energy (ΔG free ). ...
Article
Engineered osmosis (EO) holds a vast untapped potential to be commercially exploited for various applications, including water recovery, product concentration, and energy generation. The EO process is a sustainable membrane-based...
... In another proposal [37], which is more general, the nexus is described as an analytical tool or method to quantify the links among the nexus nodes, including various characteristics or properties of food, energy and water. Some examples are shown in Table 1. ...
Article
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The availability of water, energy and food plays a key role in meeting the basic needs of the world population and allowing them to achieve prosperity and supports the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). These three fundamental resources are closely interrelated, with their deep interdependencies reflected in various concepts of the ‘water–energy–food nexus’ (W–E–F). One-third of the total food produced globally results in food loss and waste (FL and FW), which also means the waste of resources used for their production, mainly energy and water. We thus propose a fusion of the W–E–F nexus and the FS–FW–FL nexus to achieve a better correlation between food production and food consumption in order to avoid additional negative effects. We explore the research problem of how the availability of water, energy and food resources can be improved by reducing FW and FL. The objective of this paper is to present an overview of opportunities to reduce the negative effects of FWL. The review paper is based on a comprehensive analysis of the literature, exploration of various (basic and extended) W–E–F models and their linkages with SDG and the entirety of the food supply chain from field to table. In addition to a literature analysis, we applied comparative methods, modeling, visualization and basic indicators of descriptive statistics. Although the amount of literature on this topic is growing, we found that systematic knowledge is still scarce, with each new study putting forth yet more new solutions. Although the data in various studies show somewhat different results, we conclude that reducing FW and FL has a positive, harmonizing effect on the W–E–F nexus.
... The water-energy nexus should be considered during the entire life cycle of resources and products. For instance, water is required for energy production and energy is essential for water abstraction, distribution, and treatment (Li et al., 2012;Zhang et al., 2018). Thus, rain gardens are constructed to retain the storm water before the pipe and thus unburden the grey infrastructure of Gdańsk city, including pumping stations; the more rainwater they retain, the less energy will be needed to pump the waste in the city. ...
Article
Nowadays, Nature-Based Solutions (NBSs) are developing as innovative multifunctional tools to maximize urban ecosystem services such as storm water preservation, reduction of runoff and flood protection, groundwater pollution prevention, biodiversity enhancement, and microclimate control. Gdańsk is one of the first Polish cities to widely introduce rain gardens (one example of an NBS) in different areas such as parks, city center, main crossroads, and car parks. They involve different technical innovations individually tailored to local architecture, including historic buildings and spaces. Gdańskie Wody, which is responsible for storm water management in the city, adopted a pioneering strategy and started the construction of the first rain garden in 2018. Currently, there are a dozen rain gardens in the city, and this organisation's policy stipulates the construction of NBSs in new housing estates without building rainwater drainage. Various types of rain gardens can be created depending on location characteristics such as geo-hydrology, as well as local conditions and needs. Furthermore, each of them might be equipped with specific technical solutions to improve the rain garden's function – for example, an oil separator or setter can be included to absorb the initial, most polluted runoff. During winter, the large amount of sodium chloride usually used to grit the roads may pose the greatest threat to biodiversity and plants. These installations have been included in a large rain garden in Gdańsk, located in the central reservation of the main streets in the city center. This work presents various technical considerations and their impact on ecosystem functions, and the urban circularity challenges provided by rain gardens operating in different technologies and surroundings. The precipitation quantity and the following infiltration rate were estimated by installing pressure transducers. Furthermore, mitigation of the urban heat island was analysed based on remote sensing images.
... 50 Guenther, E., T.Guenther, F. Schiemann, and G. Weber, 2016: Stakeholder Relevance for 51 Reporting: Explanatory Factors of Carbon Disclosure. Bus. ...
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Chapter link: https://report.ipcc.ch/ar6wg3/pdf/IPCC_AR6_WGIII_FinalDraft_Chapter17.pdf
... Modelling WEF interactions is highly complex and context specific [8], and there has been much work involving computer-based modelling of various issues within the sphere of the WEF nexus. There are several different modelling approaches put forward that vary according to modeling priorities/goals, scale and interdependencies of interest, as summarized in [9]. For example, [10] proposes a computational decision framework for modelling and analysing WEF nexus particularly in risk adverse environments. ...
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The population of African continent is significantly increasing which has given rise to societal, economic and environmental changes. This will generate an increase in demand for food, water and energy. Thus, strategies for sustainable management of natural resources need to be adopted urgently in order to match the future needs and to ensure sustainable development on the continent. The Water Energy Food (WEF) nexus is one the avenues for studying the current and future interactions and interdependencies of the WEF sectors under different scenarios and challenges in the effort towards establishing sustainable use of natural resources. Policies around the nexus approach are few or absent at the continental and country levels. This paper is a first review on the adoption of the Nexus in two model African countries, Morocco and South Africa. The review compares the water, energy and food sectors and the related national policies, plans and frameworks. The data related to the WEF Nexus revealed key difficulties of availability in both countries. A comparative analysis of the situation in both countries demonstrated differences in policies relating to the WEF Nexus across the sectors: water, energy, and agriculture. Additionally, the paper explores the relevance of technology-assisted frameworks for the WEF nexus and also analyzed risks to agriculture and food security in the context of the reviewed countries.
... Dargin et al. (2019) delved on the complexity of WEF nexus tools, while Flammini et al. (2014), IRENA (2015), Kaddoura and El Khatib (2017), and Shinde (2017) reviewed their suitability, analytic modeling capabilities, inputs, and outputs. Reviews by Albrecht et al. (2018) and Zhang et al. (2018) included concepts and methodologies in the WEF nexus and tools. ...
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Sector-based resource management approaches partly contribute to the insecurities in water, energy and food sectors and resources. These approaches fail to acknowledge and capture the interlinkages between these connected resources, a key strength in the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus approach. However, the multi-centric, multidimensional, and spatiotemporally dynamic WEF nexus is complex and uncertain, thus requiring dedicated tools that can unpack it. Various sources have blamed the slow uptake and practical implementation of the WEF nexus on the unavailability of appropriate tools and models. To confirm those claims with evidence, literature on WEF nexus tools was searched from Scopus and Web of Science and systematically reviewed using the PRISMA protocol. It was found that the WEF nexus tools are being developed increasingly, with a current cumulative number of at least 46 tools and models. However, their majority (61%) is unreachable to the intended users. Some available tools are in code format, which can undermine their applicability by users without programming skills. A good majority (70%) lack key capabilities such as geospatial features and transferability in spatial scale and geographic scope. Only 30% of the tools are applicable at local scales. In contrast, some tools are restricted in geographic scope and scale of application, for example, ANEMI 3 and WEF models for large and household scales, respectively. Most (61%) of the tools lack wide application in actual case studies; this was partly attributed to the tools not being readily available. Thus, efforts should be made to disseminate and ensure end-users' uptake and application of developed tools. Alternatively, the user-friendly tools should be developed on-demand as requested and inspired by potential clients. Developers should consider utility, transferability and scalability across uses and users when improving existing tools and developing new tools so that they are adaptable, only requiring new, specific location-adapted inputs and data. Where and when it is necessary to capture spatial dynamics of the WEF nexus, tools should be geographic information system (GIS)-enabled for automatic WEF nexus location selection, geospatial mapping, and visualization. Such GIS-enabled WEF nexus tools can provide a bird's eye view of hotspots and champions of WEF nexus practices.
... Similar to the work by Khan et al [53] who they identify 15 features of integrated modelling, we identify a set of nine features of nexus modelling that are important for effective analysis. The 15 items Khan et al identify are included in the nine below with, for example, their item 15 (synchronized future scenarios) being incorporated into our number 7. Koppelaar et al [71] and Zhang et al [72] similarly provide reviews of the purposes and capabilities of different nexus modelling approaches, but neither work provides an evaluation framework that can be applied to comparing modelling efforts on a numerical scale. The framework we present can be applied to any nexus modelling activity to get a sense of how well that activity represents the nexus and how well it addresses the additional aspects identified in our expert elicitation focus groups, namely open modelling and standardized data processing and documentation. ...
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Systems models are an important tool for policy and energy planning decisions. These models generally fall into one of three modelling paradigms: energy economy, capacity expansion or power sector planning. Recent work seeks to combine these paradigms into an integrated framework to leverage the benefits of different model types. There is also interest and research in representing more system interactions to expand the modelling nexus. However, this increases model complexity and risks creating more black box models that are not well understood or trusted by users or policymakers. To understand the trade-offs and best practices of using combined models, we review current modelling practices, including an overview of the different modelling paradigms in the literature, how combined modelling has been applied to date and how the nexus has been represented in different modelling applications. Building on the literature review, we held a series of expert elicitation workshops to gain insight from energy modelling domain experts who use combined models. Finally, we encapsulate these findings and best practices into a modelling evaluation framework. We find that while there is interest and research being done in these areas, there are no set standards for how to build these types of models, resulting in a wide range of practices. Increasing model complexity to develop fully hard-linked coupled models that are also trustworthy and transparent generally requires more time and resources than is worthwhile. Instead, the focus should be on avoiding black box models by having a clear modelling purpose and developing best practices that allow for clarity and transparency. Expanding the nexus to include attributes such as biodiversity and cultural security presents a challenge and representing them as a cost is not congruent to equitable policy. These aspects could be better incorporated into analysis using stakeholder debate and citizens’ assemblies.
... In recent years, the water-energy-food nexus approach has received increasing attention in international policy, academic research, and other fields. The term "Nexus" was first used at the World Economic Forum in 2008, where global challenges to economic development were examined from the perspective of the food-energy-water nexus (Zhang et al. 2018). "Nexus" represents a systemic approach that seeks to optimize resource use by focusing on resource interdependence (Hoff 2011;Namany et al. 2019). ...
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Iran’s agricultural production has expanded significantly in recent years. Environmental pollution caused by the use of energy and chemical fertilizers, depletion of groundwater resources, and soil erosion, on the other hand, demonstrates a lack of attention to the environmental dimension of production in this country. In addition to these issues, climate change has exacerbated the agriculture sector’s difficulties. This study intends to investigate the asymmetric relationship between energy consumption, chemical fertilizer consumption, CO2 emissions, temperature changes, and production from 1961 to 2019 using the NARDL approach and Granger causality test in the frequency domain (Breitung and Candelon.). Short-term and long-term estimates revealed that the positive and negative shock effects of energy consumption on production are both positive. As a result, it was observed that the negative shock of increased energy consumption had a greater influence on agricultural output than the positive shock. In the long run, the positive shock of fertilizer use has a positive effect on and improves production. But the effect of a negative shock is insignificant. Furthermore, the negative shock of CO2 emission has a positive effect on production. Finally, positive and negative shocks in temperature changes were discovered to have an increasing and reducing influence on production. The results of the Granger causality test in the frequency domain test showed that there is a bidirectional causality relationship between energy consumption and agro-production in the long term. There is also unidirectional causality from CO2 emissions and fertilizer consumption to production and from production to climate change. According to the findings, reforming energy prices, investing in mechanized agriculture, shifting away from fossil fuel consumption towards renewable energy, and tending to green growth are all necessary to achieve multiple goals such as optimizing energy consumption, reducing environmental pollution, and improving efficiency.
... The application of the nexus approach is complex, requiring extensive input data [32] and tools that can capture the interactions and synergies between nexus components [33,34]. This necessitates the use of methods from different disciplines [33], selected in relation to the aim, scope, and scale of the analysis [35]. A multidisciplinary approach fosters an improved understanding of integrated systems [36,37], where the nexus perspective supports the evaluation of sector-specific development strategies and enhances decision-making and planning. ...
Article
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Increasing food demand has led to significant agricultural expansion globally with negative impacts on resources and the environment, a perfect manifestation of the Water-Energy-Food-Environment nexus. Whilst many tools have been developed to understand the complexity of the Water-Energy-Food-Environment nexus most have failed to explicitly consider biophysical and socio-economic aspects simultaneously. A novel Water-Energy-Food-Environment modelling toolkit is developed that integrates both these components by combining different modelling approaches including irrigation simulation, economic modelling and life cycle environmental assessment. The toolkit is demonstrated using two major agro-export crops (asparagus and table grapes) in the Ica Valley, Peru, a severely water-stressed region. The toolkit was able to provide novel insights into the implications of different farming practices on resource efficiency at the field level in relation to water and energy, under contrasting future scenarios reflecting socio-economic outcomes at the local to regional levels (e.g., food prices, employment, and income) as well as environmental impacts at local to global scales. This information enables different stakeholders to better understand the interlinkages and inter-dependences between the Water-Energy-Food-Environment nexus elements and the complex impacts of agricultural expansion beyond the immediate sector and its geographical extent, helping decision makers design more coordinated agricultural policies and support sustainable agricultural transformation.
... There is no universally recognized methodology for nexus analysis. However, LCA has been extensively applied in analyzing the environmental impact of nexus sectors, aiming to look for effective ways to cope with the current resource shortage and global climate change [17]. Some authors applied this instrument to calculate the carbon footprint of Czech [18] and homemade potato chips [8], as well as the environmental impact by means of several indicators of some processed potato and tomato products [19], or only raw potatoes [20]. ...
Article
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The water-energy-food (WEF) nexus has become a key concept to promote the cross-sectoral coordination toward sustainable development. In particular, understanding the interdependences of these pillars, as well as addressing a life cycle perspective, is essential when evaluating food production systems. This study explores the environmental impacts and nutritional quality of potato chips, addressing life cycle thinking and a WEF nexus approach. For this purpose, the combined application of life cycle assessment (LCA) and the Nutrient-Rich Food 9.3 (NRF9.3) index was considered to identify the main environmental hotspots and advanced opportunities. The results indicated a major contribution of the cultivation stage on water use, whereas the processing accounted for most of the impacts in energy-related indicators and eutrophication potentials. Improvement opportunities reside in the joint application of drip irrigation, allowing to achieve important water savings, as well as the use of natural gas or pellets instead of diesel, which constitute cleaner energy sources. On the other hand, a poor nutritional density of potato chips became evident from the quantification of the NRF9.3, which can be significantly improved if potatoes undergo a roasted process instead of frying.
... The consumption of water and energy for food production has been studied by several authors using the Food-Energy-Water (FEW) Nexus approach (Chang et al., 2020;Karabulut et al., 2018;Zhang et al., 2018). These aim to consider the multiple interdependencies of the factors involved, across disciplines and scales (Leck et al., 2015). ...
Article
Urban agriculture (UA) initiatives have been increasing in recent years as a nature-based solution for achieving many of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, climate change is expected to have effects on rainfall patterns, which are likely to impact urban food production. The main aim of this paper is to evaluate how issues related to water sources for UA have been addressed in the scientific literature from two different socio-economic and environmental realities, Brazil and Italy. The method involved a systematic literature review, considering the PRISMA guidelines. The Web of Science database and papers' reference lists were used for retrieving original articles, published in 2000-2020 interval, indexed on scientific databases, and containing data on the typology and quality of water sources used in UA studies. After applying the eligibility criteria, 191 papers were selected – Brazil (108) and Italy (83). The last five years have seen an intensification of studies into issues involving water. Tap water has been identified as an important source of irrigation water for UA, if not the main one. No studies were found that addressed the impact of UA on public water supply systems. The findings point towards more sustainable practices involving the reuse of water and adaptive practices towards water security. We identified that innovative production systems like container farming, aquaponics and indoor agriculture, as well as cultivation of fruit trees, wild edible plants and varieties with low water requirements can represent water-saving options.
... The quality of life has generally improved, and, consequently, the consumption of food, water, and energy has rapidly increased; thus, concerns regarding the demand and supply of basic resources have increased with the population increase [1,2]. In particular, the problem of climate change caused by the increased consumption of energy produced from fossil fuels has worsened [3][4][5][6][7]. ...
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Building-integrated rooftop greenhouses (BiRTGs) are innovative vertical farms consisting of a greenhouse on the roof of a building. BiRTGs can provide environmental benefits by recycling energy, carbon dioxide, and water between the greenhouse and the building. Moreover, BiRTGs can reduce cooling and heating loads by reducing the exposure of the building surface to heat gains/losses through the roof. However, the benefits of BiRTGs have not yet been completely elucidated from an energy perspective. This study aimed to analyse the energy-saving efficiency of BiRTGs using building energy simulations (BES) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques. BES is a calculation method for analysing the heating and cooling loads of buildings; however, it was difficult to consider time-dependent changes in the ventilation characteristics in the BES model. CFD can be used to calculate more detailed ventilation characteristics of an experimental facility. Thus, CFD and the BES were combined to obtain more accurate BES-based data. The BES-computed annual energy load for a single-span greenhouse in which tomatoes were grown was 490,128 MJ, whereas the annual energy load for growing tomatoes in a BiRTG resulted in a 5.2% reduction, on average (464,673 MJ). The energy-saving effects were positive from October to April because the BiRTG helped transmit heat energy transmitted from the building to the greenhouse. Regarding the total energy load in the BiRTG after alternating the air temperature management (ATM), the heating energy load was reduced in the winter. ATM was expected to apply from November to March, with average energy savings of 11.8%.
... Generally, nexus can be defined in two definitions. First, nexus is described as the interactions between different sectors (or subsystems) within the system boundary, such as water and carbon systems (Zhang et al., 2018). Cai et al. (2018) further illustrated that nexus is regarded as interconnected physicochemical processes, input and output relationships of production, as well as infrastructure and institutions' interactions. ...
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As the climate change impacts are expected to become increasingly disruptive, affecting water security, environmental health and ecosystem, constructed wetlands receive attention for their functions in delivering various life-sustaining services to human and environmental systems. In this article, a systematic review was conducted through the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses standard to identify the current research on constructed wetlands’ nature values and services from 2011 to 2020 of two databases, namely Scopus and Web of Science. The criteria of assessment focus on holistic deliberation of subject matters, namely carbon sequestration and water security as regulating and provisioning services, as well as nature values of constructed wetlands, namely instrumental and intrinsic values. As a result, 38 articles were selected and comprehensively examined. As the lack of an interdisciplinary approach makes data and information integration difficult, this study derived an integrated classification of constructed wetlands’ services and mapped with its nature values, guided by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment framework. Besides, mechanisms and factors affecting carbon sequestration and water security were also discussed. The carbon–water nexus was then conceptualised as interlinkages between engineered and natural physicochemical processes at the interface between carbon and water cycles. To fill the gaps, based on the carbon–water nexus concept, a new framework was synthesised at the end of the deliberation for constructed wetlands in regulating local climate through carbon sequestration and ensuring water security through water treatment and purification as well as influencing socio-cultural values, which needs an integrated approach that is the novelty of this work. The framework integrates the dichotomy of the instrumental-intrinsic nature values of constructed wetlands to evaluate the importance and benefit of the carbon–water nexus. The framework that reveals the vitality of nature values provided by constructed wetlands can help improve the decision-making to prioritise ecosystem services and conservation efforts, particularly in the sustainable management of constructed wetlands.
... Despite the fact that the scope of the approach is clear [9], the implementation of the framework can still be challenging in the face of the complex (spatial, temporal, institutional and jurisdictional) interlinkages across the various sectors [10,11]. One of the thorniest problems to plague the operationalisation of the WEFE concept pertains to grasping fully all the biophysical and socio-economic links within and across nodes. ...
Article
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In recent years, researchers and policymakers have emphasised the importance of understanding the complex relationships between Water, Energy, Food and Ecosystems (WEFE). The primary reason for capturing these complexities is to understand how decisions made in the water, food and energy sectors can affect one another. Crucially, biodiversity and ecosystem services (E) play a mediating role in these relationships by making material and non-material contributions to all other sectors (W, E, F). The Nexus approach has been widely used for capturing these interdependencies and identifying opportunities for increasing efficiency, reducing trade-offs and building synergies for sustainable resource use across the WEFE nodes. One challenge in using this framework is the need to harmonise the technical and managerial dimensions of the WEFE interlinkages with the perceptions and priorities of local populations directly involved in the use and management of resources. This paper presents a methodological framework that seeks to integrate the perspectives of experts, practitioners and local stakeholders on the WEFE Nexus through the combined application of the Delphi and Focus Group methods. In this paper, the municipality of Apokoronas in Crete, Greece has served as the case in point. The combined framework allowed us to explore the Nexus understanding at the local level and was instrumental in the identification of initiatives for more integrated resource management. The triangulation of results captured the differences in priorities between practitioners and the local community at large, but also, more specifically, it pointed to discrepancies within groups and across WEFE sectors. The outcomes of this paper demonstrate that awareness and learning play a central role in Nexus actions to overcome conflicts and perceived inequalities, and to internalise solutions. The inclusion of the ecosystems node in the traditional WEF Nexus encouraged participants to contemplate the pivotal role of ecosystems in supporting the rest of the WEF sectors.
... Some developing countries use over 90 percent of their water for irrigation [6]. As a large agricultural country, the average water consumption per unit area in China is only 50% of the global average level [7], and the issue of irrigation water shortage has become increasingly obvious [8,9]. Due to the greater demand for irrigation, the contradiction between the supply and demand of agricultural water resources has intensified [10][11][12][13]. ...
Article
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To establish the uncertain influence that the joint distribution of precipitation and reference evapotranspiration has on net irrigation water requirement, a Copula function–Monte Carlo method (CFMC) was proposed to calculate the probability of irrigation water requirement. Taking the Jingdian Irrigation District in Northwest China as an example, the distribution laws of precipitation and reference evapotranspiration were studied. Furthermore, five typical years under different crop planting structure conditions were selected, and the variation characteristics of net irrigation water requirement in each typical year under the conditions of climate uncertainty were analyzed. The results revealed the optimal distribution functions of precipitation and reference evapotranspiration to be gamma distribution and lognormal distribution. The probability density map of the joint distribution of precipitation and reference evapotranspiration has a “saddle” shape; that is, irrigation water requirement and reference evapotranspiration are usually inversely related. As the probability of the irrigation water requirement increases, the net irrigation water requirement in the irrigation area also increases. The CFMC method can determine the design value of the net irrigation water requirement under a specific probability for typical years under different crop planting structure conditions, which can provide a reference for agricultural water resource allocation in irrigation areas.
... Any interventions to improve performance of one of the components may affect the performance of the others. Furthermore, the inter-dependence is complex, and difficult to predict using nonquantitative methods [1]. ...
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Household water food and energy (WFE) expenditures, reflect respective survival needs for which their resources and social welfare are inter-related. We developed a policy driven quantitative decision-making strategy (DMS) to address the domain geospatial entities’ (nodes or administrative districts) of the WFE nexus, assumed to be information linked across the domain nodal-network. As investment in one of the inter-dependent nexus components may cause unexpected shock to the others, we refer to the WFE normalized expenditures product (Volume) as representing the nexus holistic measure. Volume rate conforms to Boltzman entropy suggesting directed information from high to low Volume nodes. Our hypothesis of causality-driven directional information is exemplified by a sharp price increase in wheat and rice, for U.S. and Thailand respectively, that manifests its impact on the temporal trend of Israel’s administrative districts of the WFE expenditures. Welfare mass (WM) represents the node’s Volume combined with its income and population density. Formulation is suggested for the nodal-network WM temporal balance where each node is scaled by a human-factor (HF) for subjective attitude and a superimposed nodal source/sink term manifesting policy decision. Our management tool is based on two sequential governance processes: one starting with historical data mapping the mean temporal nodal Volumes to single out extremes, and the second is followed by WM balance simulation predicting nodal-network outcome of policy driven targeting. In view of the proof of concept by model simulations in in our previous research, here HF extends the model and attention is devoted to emphasize how the current developed decision-making approach categorically differs from existing nexus related methods. The first governance process is exemplified demonstrating illustrations for Israel’s districts. Findings show higher expenditures for water and lower for energy, and maps pointing to extremes in districts’ mean temporal Volume. Illustrations of domain surfaces for that period enable assessment of relative inclination trends of the normalized Water, Food and Energy directions continuum assembled from time stations, and evolution trends for each of the WFE components.
Chapter
The currently used water–energy–food (WEF) nexus philosophy and frameworks integrate the interconnections across the water, energy, food-agricultural sectors using a systems perspective. There are many challenges to model the interdependencies and trade-offs using a WEF nexus approach. Many tools and indices have been developed and used at the regional and national levels. However, there are few attempts to apply tools at a local and/or catchment level as described in this chapter for the Inkomati-Usuthu catchment in South Africa. The available tools were described according to inputs required and outputs produced together with both spatial and temporal scales and potential users. The data requirements for each sector were unpacked, and potential sources for local information are listed despite the wide set of data necessary. The way forward to applying these tools in the Crocodile and lower Komati river basins was considered in light of the facilitated stakeholder engagement to promote understanding of the scope of the WEF nexus and economic and policy implications.
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China has proposed “ecological conservation and high-quality development of the Yellow River Basin” to a major national strategy, which puts forward higher requirements for water, energy, and food along the Yellow River (TYR). However, the water–energy–food nexus (WEF) system in TYR basin is very complicated. Based on the theory and method of harmonious regulation, this paper puts forward a new WEF harmony framework (WEFH) to study the harmonious balance of WEF in TYR. WEFH cannot only evaluate the harmonious balance of WEF, but also identify the main influencing factors, and further study the harmonious regulation of WEF. For the key steps of regulation and control, we provide a variety of methods to choose from in this framework. In practice, we apply this framework to the regulation of WEF in the nine provinces along TYR. The results show that during 2005–2018, the harmony degree of WEF in the nine provinces along TYR is between 0.29 and 0.58. The harmony degree of WEF has improved over time, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Among them, per capita water resources, hydropower generation ratio, carbon emissions, and another 12 indicators have great influence on the harmony of WEF. We have established eight control schemes for nine of these indicators. In eight control schemes, most areas have reached a moderate level of harmony degree. These results show that the framework proposed in this paper is helpful to the comprehensive management of regional WEF and provides a viable scheme for the optimization of WEF.
Article
The Climate, Land, Energy and Water systems (CLEWs) approach guides the development of integrated assessments. The approach includes an analytical component that can be performed using simple accounting methods, soft-linking tools, incorporating cross-systems considerations in sectoral models, or using one modelling tool to represent CLEW systems. This paper describes how a CLEWs quantitative analysis can be performed using one single modelling tool, the Open Source Energy Modelling System (OSeMOSYS). Although OSeMOSYS was primarily developed for energy systems analysis, the tool’s functionality and flexibility allow for its application to CLEWs. A step-by-step explanation of how climate, land, energy, and water systems can be represented with OSeMOSYS, complemented with the interpretation of sets, parameters, and variables in the OSeMOSYS code, is provided. A hypothetical case serves as the basis for developing a modelling exercise that exemplifies the building of a CLEWs model in OSeMOSYS. System-centred scenario analysis is performed with the integrated model example to illustrate its application. The analysis of results shows how integrated insights can be derived from the quantitative exercise in the form of conflicts, trade-offs, opportunities, and synergies. In addition to the modelling exercise, using the OSeMOSYS-CLEWs example in teaching, training and open science is explored to support knowledge transfer and advancement in the field.
Article
Connections between water, food, and energy are at the center of long-term economic and environmental development and protection. Water, energy and food are the keys to economic input and a necessary component of economic progress. The adoption of water management policies and techniques that support the sustainable use of resources while promoting economic growth is becoming an important concern, particularly in countries where water and food scarcity are critical or problematic. This study aimed at evaluating Water, Energy and Food Nexus (WEF), and as well as challenges of its implementation. This study looked at the articles that were published on WEF nexus between 2015 and 2021 acquired from the Scopus database, focusing on gaps and implementations. I searched for relevant key terms in the database and the search found hundreds of articles on WEF, of which 28 articles were relevant to the scope of the study and these articles were downloaded as BibTeX file for the analysis and the analysis was done using R programming. A number of insights and implications were identified based on the analyses of the findings of the reviewed research in order to increase the policy relevance and overall implementation of the WEF nexus by public policy and decision-making institutions. To boost uptake of the findings, the study gives an outline of the primary constraints and challenges that restrict the policy relevance of the WEF nexus.
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Biofuels play a key role in the decarbonization process of the transport sector contributing to climate change mitigation, energy security and rural development. However, the competition between energy and food in the use of resources, such as land, water and energy input, requires a robust and integrated methodological framework to promote a holistic sustainable resource management. Here, we propose a land suitability model for energy crops to analyze the dynamic interrelationships between land, water and energy, with the aim of promoting the efficient use of resources in the bioenergy context. The model was developed using multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) techniques in geographic information systems (GIS) integrated with the Water-Energy-Food nexus approach. The model was tested for the Basilicata region (southern Italy), comparing two energy crops: (i) rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) and (ii) cardoon (Cynara cardunculus L.). The application to the case study shows the importance of the land suitability analysis to identify the most suitable crop in a given territory, while the nexus spatial analysis for locating the suitable areas where a more efficient use of water, energy and land resources is reached. The results revealed also that the use of irrigation water would allow greater use efficiency of the other resources, such as land and energy, an aspect not to be underestimated in the energy, land and agricultural planning processes. The research work contributes to the debate on the sustainability of bioenergy, so that they can represent a sustainable solution to the energy issue and climate change.
Article
This study conveys a novel framework for co-expansion planning of an integrated gas network and methanol plant with natural gas feedstock while enforcing power network constraints. The framework is novel due the fact that it integrates the non-linear complexities and challenges induced by the chemical plant and power system constraints. The work also considers spatiotemporal and quantitative distributions of water sources, water withdrawal, and consumption rates of involved power and chemical technologies. Furthermore, the framework incorporates land resource characteristics, including geological surface features and elevation changes, and devises a strategy for practical cost estimation of different gas transmission expansion stages. Compared to conventional expansion approaches, which disregard complications of chemical plants and resource dependencies, the proposed framework provides a realistic view. Firstly, the study captures the expansion impacts of chemical plants and tackles the research challenge of prioritizing expansion planning alternatives in which natural gas can be supplied as the fuel of power plants to meet power demands, or it can be fed as the feedstock of new chemical plants to create added values. Secondly, the framework considers water resource limitations and characteristics and evaluates impacts of water usage policies on the integrated systems. Thirdly, the work reflects on land resource dependencies and categorizes expansion investments of the gas network. Results indicate that the chemical plant and power system integrations, incorporated water, land resource characteristics, and categorized construction costs considerably influence expansion alternatives of gas and chemical systems in terms of power and gas supply reliabilities and economic criteria.
Article
Facing water and land scarcity, planting non-food biofuel crops on marginal land depending on natural rainfall has been considered as an attractive means of achieving sustainable biofuel development. However, the complex connection between rainfall and marginal land resources in spatial-temporal distribution affects the optimal planting layout of non-food biofuel crops as well as the assessment of biofuel potential, especially in arid areas. In this study, we constructed a water-land-biofuel nexus centered on non-food biofuel crops, optimized the layout of three non-food biofuel crops, sweet sorghum, Jerusalem artichoke and switchgrass, based on fuzzy mathematics method under the water-land-biofuel nexus perspective, determined yield-rainfall curve to calculate the development potential of non-food biofuel crops. The results showed that sweet sorghum and Jerusalem artichoke are more suitable for planting in Ningxia. Three potential scenarios are set up under different growth conditions and agricultural technologies. The theoretical biofuel production is [9.64× 10⁷, 10.93× 10⁷] GJ, which was verified by the result that the biofuel production per unit area is close to the lower limit of the test production range. It can also be speculated that there may exist irrigation supply and fertilization in the actual crops planting in other studies.
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We implemented the semantically open conceptual framework ‘Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism’ (MuSIASEM) to deal with nexus challenges in agricultural production systems in transboundary river basins, using the Iranian Aras River Basin as a case study. The performance of the agricultural sector was characterized for relevant typologies of crop production using metabolic profiles, i.e., inputs and outputs per ton of crop produced, per hectare of land use, and per hour of labor. This analysis was contextualized across hierarchical levels of analysis, including the agronomic context at the regional level (rainfed versus irrigated cultivation), the socio-economic and political context at the national level (food sovereignty; urbanization), and the hydro-ecological context of the larger transboundary river basin (water constraints, GHG emissions). We found that the simultaneous use of two different interrelated logics of aggregation—the productivity of land and labor (relevant for the agronomic and socio-economic dimension) and the density of flows under different land uses (relevant for the hydrological and ecological dimension)—allowed for the identification of trade-offs in policy deliberations. In the case of Iran, it showed that striving for strategic autonomy will exacerbate the current water crisis; with the current cropping patterns, agronomic improvements will not suffice to avert a water crisis. It was concluded that the proposed approach fills an important gap in nexus research, but to effectively guide nexus governance in the region, a co-production of the analysis with social actors as well as more complete data sets at the river basin level would be essential.
Article
The ecosystem currently suffers from water-, energy-, and food-scarcity as well as climate change caused by population growth and industrialization progress. To analyze these four challenges, the integrated consideration from environmental and economic perspectives are highly needed. This study constructed an environmental–economic coupled water, energy, and carbon integrated footprint (WECF) assessment method to evaluate apple production in China. The overall environmental WECF of apple production in 2019 on human health, ecosystem quality, and resource depletion categories were 3.0 × 10⁴ disability adjusted life years, 323 annual species loss, and $ 5.6 × 10⁹ respectively. The overall cost of apple production in China in 2019 was $ 1.6 × 10¹⁰, including 95.3% of internal costs and 4.7% of external costs. Additionally, ∼ $ 5.6 × 10⁹ of net profits in China were observed. The environmental WECF was dominated by fertilizer production process and irrigation, whereas the internal costs of labor and fertilizer and external costs of human health were the major contributors to economic impacts. In addition, approximately 3.8 × 10⁶ disability adjusted life years in health life were avoided due to the nutrition intake from apples in 2019. Results suggest that the current apple planting layout in China for high-quality apple production is suitable for an environmental and economic win–win situation despite the existing water scarcity situation. However, compared with Europe, the global standing of China's apple production in terms of WECF is still at a low point because of the backward irrigation facilities and technologies, high fertilizer consumption rate, and low apple production yield per unit area. Therefore, adopting suitable water-saving irrigation technologies following local conditions, exploring driven forces on the water- and fertilizer-saving technologies, and increasing apple yield per area is highly recommended.
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This study examined simulated changes in total (and outdoor) water demand with increased dwelling units per unit area (DUUA) for seven building types (BTs) in the Denver Water service area. We utilized the Denver Water Demand Model — a spreadsheet tool that uses inputs such as BT, population, household size, number of units, etc. — to develop an “agent‐based” simulator to permit scenario analyses of future water use for different mixes of BTs. We examined household “movement” for new residents from lower density to higher density classifications. Increased residential density can be achieved through multiple pathways. For instance, a family could move from a large single‐family (LSF) unit to a single‐family home with a smaller lot footprint (SSF). Or, a family could move into a multi‐family housing development from a SSF. Our results suggest uneven, nonlinear efficiency gains in water use with increased density, depending on the specific BT movements. Simulation outputs indicate that the greatest gains in water savings per unit change in DUUA can be achieved with short movements over the lowest density classes (e.g., LSF to a SSF). In addition, results suggest that increasing irrigation efficiency (less water applied per unit area irrigated) may decrease total residential water demand by 5% to 25% over baseline; efficiency of irrigation may prove to be as effective, if not more, at reducing residential water demand as increasing housing density.
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Fires in Amazon rainforest, Hurricane Dorian in Bahamas, and wildfires in California are among some of the recent events related to the climate change. The rising sea levels, higher temperatures, and extreme precipitation are some of the causation of climate change. The communities around the world are coping with these changes now. In this regard, an untypical effort from all sectors of community is needed to address critical problems of adapting to climate change and feeding 7.7 billion people. The Internet of Things for Sustainable Community Development addresses the key inter-related environmental, climate change, energy, water, health, mining, agroeconomic, and cybersecurity challenges that limit the development of sustainable and resilient society. The aim of this book is to present an integrated depiction of how the Internet of Things “IoT” can stimulate the sustainable community development. The expertise across multiple domains including engineering and technology, ecosystems and natural resource management, environmental toxicology, human health, agriculture, mining, and urban underground infrastructure monitoring is introduced to examine important environmental challenges that can be solved with applications of recent advancements in Internet of Things. In these domains, the sensing data is generated by a wide range of sensors, from point-based direct in situ measurements to airborne and remote sensing for global coverage through satellites. In each domain, the sensing requirements change considerably, stretching from plant level water status to field level soil moisture, and regional level cloud hydrometer to global scale climate crises and greenhouse gases. The integration of huge volumes of data being generated across these spatial–temporal scales is a major challenge. Moreover, the transmission and processing of this data in decision support systems to address sustainability challenges requires cross-disciplinary endeavors with expertise in sensing, wireless communications, systems science, and modeling, in addition to the specific domain knowledge. The Internet of Things has strong potential to foster the creation of these cross-disciplinary next-generation sensing and communication systems using IoT. These IoT systems for data gathering, wireless communications, processing, and presentation of sensing data are vital to get insights into the biological, physical, and chemical processes in the environment, and forecasting the prospective advancement of ecosystems sustainability. Such forecasts are also required to support policy and regulation decisions. The Internet of Things for Sustainable Community Development presents a portfolio of cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research developments and challenges in IoT sensing, communications, and systems. It provides a well-founded coverage of these technologies with rigorous focus on scientific concepts, evolution, and applications to sustainability. The comprehensive contents are arranged systemically to provide the scientific foundations of Internet of Things for sustainable community development. The book covers research and innovation ecosystem of the Internet of Things for sustainability in the following major areas that are explored in this book. These areas highlight converging activities that enable the main cohesive objective of sustainable community development. • Climate Change • Sustainable Energy Systems • Sustainable Water • Human Health • Sustainable Mining • Decision Agriculture • Storm and Wastewater • Sustainable Forestry Each of these areas emphasizes core IoT research challenges and solutions while leveraging their shared traits, interdependencies, and expertise to converge on applications of IoT to sustainability challenges. These sections of our community do not exist in segregation. The energy and water are fully intertwisted because the water is used to produce energy, and the energy is needed to drain, remedy, and transport water, which underscores the connection between the water-dependent crop growers and city dwellers. Moreover, the human health is impacted by water availability and quality, energy availability, cultivation, mining, and waste management, inter alia, impacting patients, diseases spread, and outbreak. Furthermore, forestry and watershed are impacted by water availability, energy supply, climate crisis, and biodiversity. In that regard, the book emphasizes IoT paradigm’s sensing, wireless communications, monitoring, actuation, and real-time decision capabilities for sustainability “things”. Thus, proper focus is also given to systems, standards, and tools that have tremendous potential to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It provides a comprehensive reference to all these aspects in an easy language that is understandable by a wide audience. It also includes advanced treatment of sustainability IoT technology applications and provides in-depth coverage of research developments and open research challenges. While intended primarily for sustainable engineering and technology professionals, researchers, and students, this book is also beneficial to policy makers, city planners and managers, technicians, and industry professionals. The research in Internet of Things for sustainability has a vital role to play in shaping the future of our community as they must create a research and education ecosystem promoting impactful solutions-oriented science to help citizenry, government, industry, and other stakeholders work collaboratively to make informed, socially responsible, science-based decisions. The socio-technical analysis presented in this monograph together with application of the latest innovations in IoT sensing, systems, and wireless communications technologies allows for a deeper understanding and management of these complex interconnected human-socio-environmental challenges.
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The twenty-first century is witnessing an explosion in global population, environmental changes, agricultural land disintegration, hunger, and geopolitical instabilities. It is difficult to manage these conditions or standardize improvement systems without thinking of the three main elements or subsystems that are necessary for any meaningful development—namely water (W), energy (E), and food (F). These key elements form what is globally agreed upon as the “WEF Nexus.” While considering them, one should think about the other key factors that influence WEF Nexus, including population’s growth, impacts of environmental changes (including climate change), moderation and adaptation regimes to climate change and climate resilience, loss of biodiversity, and sustainable nature. Together, the WEF Nexus subsystems represent a framework to ensure environmental protection that should be seen as an ethical and socioeconomic obligation. Issues, such as protection of water resources, and strategies and management tools or mechanisms for the use of water assets and agricultural innovations under the obligations of sustainable use, are investigated in this paper. Attention is paid to the relationship between water and food (WF Nexus) or water for food security in various world regions, including the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Central Asia countries and the Caucasus, China, Africa, and Canada. This paper also presents analyses of a great number of up-to-date publications regarding the “Nexus” perspective and its applications and limitations. This paper suggests that the Nexus’ approach, in its different concepts (WEF, WE, WF and EF), can promote sustainable development and improve the quality of life of communities, while preserving natural, human, and social capital, addressing sustainability challenges, and protecting natural resources and the environment for long-term use.
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Decision-makers need tailored information regarding future climate, land use, forest management and societal scenarios for sustainable watershed management. Such information can be attained by integrating the water-energy-land nexus approach with climate services. To support decision-makers from Brașov metropolitan area (Romania), we co-developed land use, forest management and societal scenarios and analysed their impact on the water-energy-land nexus under climate change. We applied the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to the Sȃcele reservoir from the Tȃrlung river basin in order to spot the interrelations between nexus components under different climate and societal scenarios. In particular, we applied four bias-corrected GCM & RCM model combinations for two climate scenarios RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, nine land use and forest management scenarios, and twelve societal scenarios. Modelling results were analysed between 2020 and 2099. The results for the study area indicate that the projected average annual precipitation is close to historical averages in most climate scenarios explored, while the projected average annual temperature is increasing. Furthermore, the analysed data suggest an increase in severe dry intervals from approximately 6% (for the period 1961-2013) to 12% by the end of the 21st century, indicating that precipitation variability may change considerably. The SWAT model results show no significant changes in the water flow under different forest management scenarios. In contrast, model results for scenarios that imply forests' clearcutting and their replacement with pastures or meadows indicate that water quality is affected by increased sediment flow. Regarding the number of months with water scarcity in the Sȃcele reservoir (i.e. water demand exceeds water supply), we found an increase from 0.4 months in 2020 to 1.5 months in 2099. The model results also revealed that climate change significantly influences the water supply in the reservoir. To conclude, the regional stakeholders highly value the model results for the co-developed scenarios, which have been already used to promote sustainable resource management.
Article
The water-energy-food nexus index in the agricultural management of the Tarim River Basin (TRB) is an important index that reflects agricultural inputs productivity. This study used the crop water requirement, energy equivalent, and agricultural water-energy-food nexus index (WEFNI) model to comprehensively evaluate the water and energy consumption, water and energy productivity, and the WEFNI of the main crops (rice, wheat, maize and cotton) in the TRB from 1990 to 2019. The results indicated that different crops had significant differences in water and energy consumption. The blue water requirements of wheat, maize, rice, and cotton were 3174.9 m³ ha⁻¹ yr⁻¹, 4271.8 m³ ha⁻¹ yr⁻¹, 7283.3 m³ ha⁻¹ yr⁻¹ and 8769.3 m³ ha⁻¹ yr⁻¹, respectively. Of these crops, wheat had the lowest blue water requirements and cotton had the highest. In addition, the planting area of the TRB increased by 105 × 10⁴ ha during the study period, with cotton accounting for 45% of the total planting area. The expansion of the planting area led to a continuous improvement in cotton production income, leading to the highest energy economic productivity in cotton (0.065 $/MJ). However, the increase in total water and energy consumption, water and energy mass productivity in cotton were lower than in the other three crops (0.15 kg/m³ and 0.04 kg/MJ). The average WEFNI of rice, wheat, maize and cotton was 0.40, 0.45, 0.43 and 0.35, respectively. This demonstrated that wheat had the highest resources utilization productivity in agricultural inputs, while cotton had the lowest. These results can provide an important scientific basis for current and future agricultural management optimization.
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Closely related to each other, food, energy, and water (FEW) restrict regional sustainable development as three basic needs for human survival. It is of great significance but rare to evaluate the long-term coordinated development of the FEW nexus in developing countries facing dual pressures of resources and population. By selecting 24 indicators from supply, demand, and ecology dimensions to construct an evaluation system of FEW security, we evaluated and predicted the coupling coordinated development of the FEW nexus in China from a regional perspective from 2002 to 2022. Moreover, based on multi-temporal land use data, the correlation between regional landscape ecological risk index (LER) and coupling coordination degree of the FEW nexus (D) was first quantified and analyzed. Results indicate that the interconnections of FEW systems were extremely strong with the coupling degree exceeding 0.92 in China from 2002 to 2017. With a substantial increase of 58.28% in the integrated evaluation index of the FEW nexus, China’s D increased from 0.66 in 2002 to 0.83 in 2017 and would continue to increase over the next five years according to the predictions of damping trend exponential smoothing method. There were obvious regional differences in both the temporal variation characteristics and the average level of the FEW nexus in China, as the mean value of D was the lowest in the east (0.66) and the highest in the west (0.69). However, a significant negative correlation with both direct and indirect aspects between LER and D was found in all three regions (Spearman’s rho ≤ − 0.609). Accordingly, more attention to the regional difference in the FEW nexus, enhanced interdepartmental cooperation and improved efficiency in resource supply–demand, as well as stable economic development and controlled population pressures are suggested for the comprehensive management of FEW resources in China.
Article
The water energy environment (WEE) nexus models have become indispensable for the integrated natural resources management under the growing regional and global risks and insecurities in pursuit of sustainable development. A new framework has been developed based on bottom-up energy system model and the related greenhouse gas emissions which aimed to predict and depict an apparent WEE nexus outlook for residential, electric power, industry, and agriculture sectors under various scenarios. Bottom-up nexus modeling has been done by Long Energy Alternative Planning software tool for the mentioned sectors from 2016 to 2040. The Urmia Lake basin covering 52,000 Km2 as a vulnerable region to climate change located in the northwest of Iran is selected as a case study in this paper. The UL basin’s demographic and economic data were used as energy demand drivers. Discussion of the results based on the detailed energy and emission analysis under different scenarios showed the most energy saving and environmental pollutants abatement potential equal to 27.76 million barrels of oil equivalent and 11.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents under the Integrated Policy (IP) scenario up to 2040. Sensitivity analysis of total energy demand to socioeconomic changes shows mean increases of 3% and 2% to each unit increase in the population and gross domestic product. The cost–benefit analysis for the IP scenario indicates more net present values if the interest rate remains less than 8%.
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Decision-makers need tailored information regarding future climate, land use, forest management, and societal scenarios for sustainable watershed management. Such information can be attained by integrating the water-energy-land nexus approach with climate services. To support decision-makers from Brașov metropolitan area (Romania), we co-developed land use, forest management, and societal scenarios and analysed their impact on the water-energy-land nexus under climate change. We applied the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to the S˘acele reservoir from the T˘arlung river basin in order to spot the interrelations between nexus components under different climate and societal scenarios. In particular, we applied four bias-corrected GCM & RCM model combinations for two climate scenarios RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, nine land use and forest management scenarios, and twelve societal scenarios. Modelling results were analysed between 2020 and 2099. The results for the study area indicate that the projected average annual precipitation is close to historical averages in most climate scenarios explored, while the projected average annual temperature is increasing. Furthermore, the analysed data suggest an increase in severe dry intervals from approximately 6% (for the period 1961–2013) to 12% by the end of the 21st century, indicating that precipitation variability may change considerably. The SWAT model results show no significant changes in the water flow under different forest management scenarios. In contrast, model results for scenarios that imply forests’ clearcutting and their replacement with pastures or meadows indicate that water quality is affected by increased sediment flow. Regarding the number of months with water scarcity in the S˘acele reservoir (i.e. water demand exceeds water supply), we found an increase from 0.4 months in 2020 to 1.5 months in 2099. The model results also revealed that climate change significantly influences the water supply in the reservoir. To conclude, the regional stakeholders highly value the model results for the co-developed scenarios, which have been already used to promote sustainable resource management.
Article
Water, energy, and food are essential and strategic resources for human well-being and socio-economic development and form the water-energy-food (WEF) system with competition and synergy. The competitive and synergistic evolution model was developed to remedy the limitations in quantitatively analyzing the tradeoffs and synergies of the WEF system. Firstly, an assessment model was developed for measuring the synergy and competition of the WEF system based on the order degree of each subsystem (That is, the development degree of each subsystem) and synergy theory. Then the synergy evolution model (SEM), with the help of a logistic model and accelerated genetic algorithm (AGA) model, was developed to measure and identify the steady-state. Furthermore, an empirical study was conducted with 30 provinces in China as examples. The results indicated that the food subsystem had the highest average order degree (0.347), followed by the energy subsystem (0.305), and the water subsystem had the lowest (0.281). The degree of order of the three subsystems exhibited an upward trend in time and has differences in the spatial distribution. Also, the results showed that synergistic, restrictive, and competitive relationships exist within the WEF system. Areas with competitive and restrictive relationships are mainly located in South China and North China, respectively, within the relationship between the water and energy subsystems. The entire country showed a restrictive relationship between the water and food subsystems. The energy and food subsystems showed that the eastern regions with relationship, while the western regions with competitive and restrictive relationship. Finally, effective measures (e.g., optimize the industrial structure, continuing to implement the strategy of “storing grain in the land and technology”, and to hold the arable land minimum) are suggested to achieve the WEF system coordinated and sustainable development. We believe that the assessment model is also applicable to assess the other complex and dynamic system worldwide that involve multiple factors.
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The Human Appropriation of Net Primary Production (HANPP) of agroecosystems is critical to food security, sustainable cropland use, and key biogeochemical processes such as carbon cycling and energy flow. However, current agroecosystem management lacks the support of high-resolution crop-type-specific HANPP information. To this end, this study integrated multi-source data of crop type, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) time-series, irrigation and climate, and multiple methods of the Miami model, the Carnegie-Ames-Stanford Approach (CASA) model, and process parameters to map the 30-m resolution spatial distribution of agro-ecosystem HANPP in the Heihe River Basin (HRB) in 2007 and 2012. We then analyzed the influences of climate condition, irrigation, and crop type on the HANPP. The average HANPP in the HRB decreased from 762.4 to 712.1 g C/m 2 from 2007 to 2012, with a decrease by 6.6%. The HANPP values of wheat, barley, and oilseed rape decreased by more than 10.0%, whereas that of corn only decreased by 3.1%. The ratio of HANPP to potential NPP (NPP pot) dropped from 82.7% to 81.4% and that of land-use-induced HANPP (HANPP LUC) to HANPP from 61.9% to 58.5%, whereas that of crop-harvest-induced HANPP (HANPP harv) to HANPP increased from 38.1% to 41.5%. These changes indicated that crop productivity increased whereas NPP loss decreased. Crop type conversion accounted for 84.7% of the HANPP changes in HRB, with a value of − 93.6 × 10 9 g C. Due to irrigation supplementation, the HANPP in high-temperature areas was higher than that in low-temperature areas with high precipitation. However, irrigation above 1000 mm no longer promoted HANPP, indicating that the irrigation efficiency in the HRB is low. Reducing HANPP LUC and carbon-water inputs while increasing HANPP harv is the key approach to obtain food security and sustainable agroecosystem development. Effective irrigation strategies and scientific crop planting adjustment should take into account their spatially heterogeneous and crop-specific impacts on the HANPP to help achieve these goals.
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As a fundamental solution to the ecological problems of resources and environment, the Green Transition of Cultivated Land-use (GTCL) has become an inherent requirement for promoting ecological progress and implementing the food security strategy in the new era. This paper proposed a theoretical framework of GTCL and constructed a GTCL development index system based on four aspects: water, land, food and carbon; then, by applying a comprehensive evaluation model, a coupling coordination model and exploratory spatial data analysis, the development level of GTCL in China’s 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2020 was evaluated and the spatial and temporal rates of change of “water, land, food and carbon” (WLFC) and their coupling coordination were finally analyzed to reveal the “water, land, food and carbon” effect of GTCL. Results showed that the systemic changes of WLFC and its coupling coordination degree of GTCL presented a spatial and temporal coincidence with a high degree of consistency; from 2000 to 2020, the overall GTCL rate in all Chinese provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions showed a “W”-shaped fluctuation uptrend. In the past five years, the development level of GTCL was higher in Northeast China, followed by Central China and North China, while South China was at a low level. In addition, WLFC showed a more obvious “W”-shaped fluctuation, with higher coupling coordination in Northeast China in good coordination and lower coordination in East China and Southwest China. Therefore, according to the results of the study, areas were divided into: benefit leading area, quality improvement area, connotation tapping potential area, ductile development area and ecological reserve area for the regulation of GTCL in all Chinese provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.
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The need for rainwater harvesting is continuously growing as a supplement to other water sources and the operation and maintenance costs remain low after the initial investment. The daily water balance method was used to determine the optimal rainwater harvesting tank size. Princeton Global Forcing (PGF) data gridded at (0.25° × 0.25°) is used after comparison with observed data. Correlations between PGF and observed stations varied by under or overestimating the precipitation. PGF series could ably reproduce observed rainfall, hence were used. The optimum water tank size varies based on the collection area, climatic conditions, and water pricing. According to the results, reliability is higher for larger rainwater tank sizes and higher for larger collections areas. Areas that receive more rainfall have higher reliabilities and require smaller tank sizes. Meeting 100% reliabilities requires collection areas greater than 500 m² for demand of 750 L/day. Reliability was investigated for different tank volumes and an insignificant increase in reliability was observed for tank sizes greater than 50 m³. A roof collection area of at least 250 m² and a tank size of 120 m³ and above is recommended to achieve more than 50% reliability. Installation of RWH systems is viable with a payback period of fewer than 4 years. The payback period is shorter for areas that receive high rainfall. The results in this study serve as a tool for comparison with other studies on evaluating the performance of rainwater harvesting systems and the possibility of using RWH systems beyond domestic and irrigation purposes.
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The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) contributes to sustainable development by advancing policy recommendations on international trade and investment, economic policy, climate change and energy, and management of natural and social capital, as well as the enabling role of communication technologies in these areas. We report on international negotiations and disseminate knowledge gained through collaborative projects, resulting in more rigorous research, capacity building in developing countries, better networks spanning the North and the South, and better global connections among researchers, practitioners, citizens and policy-makers.
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The water-energy-food (WEF) nexus is rapidly expanding in scholarly literature and policy settings as a novel way to address complex resource and development challenges. The nexus approach aims to identify tradeoffs and synergies of water, energy, and food systems, internalize social and environmental impacts, and guide development of cross-sectoral policies. However, while the WEF nexus offers a promising conceptual approach, the use of WEF nexus methods to systematically evaluate water, energy, and food interlinkages or support development of socially and politically-relevant resource policies has been limited. This paper reviews WEF nexus methods to provide a knowledge base of existing approaches and promote further development of analytical methods that align with nexus thinking. The systematic review of 245 journal articles and book chapters reveals that (a) use of specific and reproducible methods for nexus assessment is uncommon (less than one-third); (b) nexus methods frequently fall short of capturing interactions among water, energy, and food—the very linkages they conceptually purport to address; (c) assessments strongly favor quantitative approaches (nearly three-quarters); (d) use of social science methods is limited (approximately one-quarter); and (e) many nexus methods are confined to disciplinary silos—only about one-quarter combine methods from diverse disciplines and less than one-fifth utilize both quantitative and qualitative approaches. To help overcome these limitations, we derive four key features of nexus analytical tools and methods—innovation, context, collaboration, and implementation—from the literature that reflect WEF nexus thinking. By evaluating existing nexus analytical approaches based on these features, we highlight 18 studies that demonstrate promising advances to guide future research. This paper finds that to address complex resource and development challenges, mixed-methods and transdisciplinary approaches are needed that incorporate social and political dimensions of water, energy, and food; utilize multiple and interdisciplinary approaches; and engage stakeholders and decision-makers.
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Urban water demand will increase by 80% by 2050, while climate change will alter the timing and distribution of water. Here we quantify the magnitude of these twin challenges to urban water security, combining a dataset of urban water sources of 482 of the world’s largest cities with estimates of future water demand, based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Fifth Assessment scenarios, and predictions of future water availability, using the WaterGAP3 modelling framework. We project an urban surface-water deficit of 1,386–6,764 million m³. More than 27% of cities studied, containing 233 million people, will have water demands that exceed surface-water availability. An additional 19% of cities, which are dependent on surface-water transfers, have a high potential for conflict between the urban and agricultural sectors, since both sectors cannot obtain their estimated future water demands. In 80% of these high-conflict watersheds, improvements in agricultural water-use efficiency could free up enough water for urban use. Investments in improving agricultural water use could thus serve as an important global change adaptation strategy. Rising population and changes in water supply under climate change affect cities globally. This study finds that in 27% of cities studied, water demand is likely to exceed availability by 2050, with many other cities competing with agriculture on water needs.
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We evaluate the N-shaped environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) using panel quantile regression analysis. We investigate the relationship between CO2 emissions and GDP per capita for 74 countries over the period of 1994–2012. We include additional explanatory variables, such as renewable energy consumption, technological development, trade, and institutional quality. We find evidence for the N-shaped EKC in all income groups, except for the upper-middle-income countries. Heterogeneous characteristics are, however, observed over the N-shaped EKC. Finally, we find a negative relationship between renewable energy consumption and CO2 emissions, which highlights the importance of promoting greener energy in order to combat global warming.
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There is a growing recognition among water resources managers that sustainable watershed management needs to not only account for the diverse ways humans benefit from the environment, but also incorporate the impact of human actions on the natural system. Coupled natural-human system modeling through explicit modeling of both natural and human behavior can help reveal the reciprocal interactions and coevolution of the natural and human systems. This study develops a spatially scalable, generalized modeling framework consisting of a process-based distributed hydrologic model (SWAT) and a decentralized water systems model (ABM) to simulate the impacts of water resources management decisions that affect the food-water-energy-environment (FWEE) nexus at a watershed scale. Agents within a river basin are geographically delineated based on both political and watershed boundaries and represent key stakeholders of ecosystem services. Agents decide about the priority across three primary water uses: food production, hydropower generation and ecosystem health within their geographical domains. Agents interact with the environment (streamflow) through the SWAT model and interact with other agents through a parameter representing willingness to cooperate. The innovative two-way coupling between the water systems model and SWAT enables this framework to fully explore the feedback of human decisions on the environmental dynamics and vice versa. This generalized ABM framework is tested in two key transboundary river basins, the Mekong River Basin in Southeast Asia and the Niger River Basin in West Africa, where water uses for ecosystem health compete with growing human demands on food and energy resources. We present modeling results for crop production, energy generation and violation of eco-hydrological indicators at both the agent and basin-wide levels to shed light on holistic FWEE management policies in these two basins.
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Integrated real-time control (RTC) of urban wastewater systems is increasingly presented as a promising and emerging strategy to deliver improved surface water quality by responsive operation according to real-time data collected from the sewer system, treatment plant and the receiving water. However, the detailed benefits and costs associated with integrated RTC have yet to be comprehensively evaluated. Built on state-of-the-art modelling and analytical tools, a three-step framework is proposed to develop integrated RTC strategies which cost-effectively maximize environmental outcomes. Results from a case study show integrated RTC can improve river quality by over 20% to meet the “good status” requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive with a 15% reduced cost, due to responsive aeration with changing environmental assimilation capacity. The cost-effectiveness of integrated RTC strategies is further demonstrated against tightening environmental standards (to the strictest levels) and against two commonly used compliance strategies. Compared to current practices (seasonal/monthly based operation), integrated RTC strategies can reduce costs whilst improving resilience of the system to disturbances and reducing environmental risk.
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Concerns about the water–energy–food (WEF) nexus have motivated many discussions regarding new approaches for managing water, energy and food resources. Despite the progress in recent years, there remain many challenges in scientific research on the WEF nexus, while implementation as a management tool is just beginning. The scientific challenges are primarily related to data, information and knowledge gaps in our understanding of the WEF inter-linkages. Our ability to untangle the WEF nexus is also limited by the lack of systematic tools that could address all the trade-offs involved in the nexus. Future research needs to strengthen the pool of information. It is also important to develop integrated software platforms and tools for systematic analysis of the WEF nexus. The experience made in integrated water resources management in the hydrological community, especially in the frame of Panta Rhei, is particularly well suited to take a lead in these advances.
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The water-energy-food nexus has become a popular concept in environmental change research and policy debates. Proponents suggest that a nexus approach promotes policy coherence through identifying optimal policy mixes and governance arrangements across the water, energy and food sectors. Although the nexus literature identifies some barriers to achieving coherence it does not clearly explain why the barriers are present, what influences them, and how they can be acted upon. These gaps disconnect the nexus literature from the governance processes it ultimately seeks to influence. This paper examines how the integrative environmental governance literature can help to close these gaps. It extracts insights from seven streams of research literature and discusses their relevance for the nexus literature. We argue that connecting the nexus to decision-making processes requires: i) rethinking the boundaries of nexus analysis vis-à-vis other sectors and levels; ii) elaboration of shared principles that can guide decision-making towards policy coherence − or an appropriate form of fragmentation − in different contexts; iii) viewing policy coherence as a continuous process of changing values and perception rather than as an outcome.
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Agricultural water markets are considered effective instruments to mitigate the impacts of water scarcity and to increase crop production. However, previous studies have limited understanding of how farmers' behaviors affect the performance of water markets. This study develops an agent-based model to explicitly incorporate farmers' behaviors, namely irrigation behavior (represented by farmers' sensitivity to soil water deficit λ) and bidding behavior (represented by farmers' rent seeking μ and learning rate β), in a hypothetical water market based on a double auction. The model is applied to the Guadalupe River Basin in Texas to simulate a hypothetical agricultural water market under various hydrological conditions. It is found that the joint impacts of the behavioral parameters on the water market are strong and complex. In particular, among the three behavioral parameters, λ affects the water market potential and its impacts on the performance of the water market are significant under most scenarios. The impacts of μ or β on the performance of the water market depend on the other two parameters. The water market could significantly increase crop production only when the following conditions are satisfied: (1) λ is small, and (2) μ is small and/or β is large. The first condition requires efficient irrigation scheduling, and the second requires well-developed water market institutions that provide incentives to bid true valuation of water permits.
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