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Energy-Water-Food Nexus

Sufficient and secure supplies of energy, water and food are required to support the basic functioning of society and help promote resilient, sustainable development. These resource needs are becoming increasingly interdependent in the face of population growth, climate change, changing consumption patterns and urbanization. Informed planning for future development requires a sophisticated understanding of the complex interrelationships between the energy, water and food sectors. While competing demands for resources poses challenges, they also create opportunities for integrated solutions. The energy-water-food nexus resources help identify solutions that consider collective impacts and provide tools and strategies to promote sustainable development outcomes.

On these pages, the topics of energy, water and food are represented as “sectors”. Each sector considers the interrelationship between energy, water and food using an “input model”. For example, the land/food sector presents how energy and water are inputs to the land/food sector. The integrated approaches topic considers the interrelationship of all three sectors.

Energy Sector

The topic of energy includes energy sources in the built environment, electricity and thermal energy, and transportation sectors as well as industry impacts from energy use. Each subtopic is categorized by the competing demands for water and land/food resources associated with each energy source. The topic also emphasizes policies, standards and best practices for each energy source that relates to water and land/food resources. Learn more.

Food Sector

The topic of food refers to both food and land resources. It includes fertilizers and pesticides, food production and industry impacts associated with the land/food sector. Each subtopic is categorized by the competing demands for water and energy resources. The topic also emphasizes policies, standards and best practices for land/food as they relate to water and energy resources. Learn more.

Water Sector

The topic of water is broken into major use categories, including source water, drinking water, wastewater and reuse, and it considers industry impacts from water use. Each subtopic is categorized by the competing demands for energy and land/food resources associated with each water source. The topic also emphasizes policies, standards and best practices for each water source that relates to energy and land/food resources. Learn more.

Integrated Approaches

The integrated approaches topic considers actions that affect all three sectors of the energy-water-food nexus. This section presents an integrated perspective on models and tools, polices and plans, resource security and technology solutions that facilitate nexus thinking or problem solving in support of sustainable development. Using an integrated approach ensures the interests of each sector are fairly represented and that no sector is short-changed in development decisions. Learn more.

Resources CESC

Sectors-cesc
Resources countries

Publication

A World at Risk: Aggregating Development Trends to Forecast Global Habitat Conversion

The authors of this article project and aggregate global spatial patterns of expected urban and agricultural expansion, as well as…

Sources:

PLoS ONE

Date:

7 October 2015

Publication

A Review of the Current State of Research on the Water, Energy, and Food Nexus

The purpose of this paper is to review and analyze the water, energy, and food nexus and regions of study,…

Sources:

Elsevier

Date:

1 June 2017

Publication

Accelerating Access to Electricity in Africa with Off-grid Solar: Off-grid Solar Country Briefing: Zambia

This country briefing is one of 13 prepared as part of a background study for the Energy Africa campaign launched…

Sources:

Overseas Development Institute

Date:

1 January 2016

Publication

Accelerating Access to Electricity in Africa with Off-grid Solar: Off-grid Solar Country Briefing: Uganda

This country briefing is one of 13 prepared as part of a background study for the Energy Africa campaign launched…

Sources:

Overseas Development Institute

Date:

1 January 2016

Publication

Accelerating Access to Electricity in Africa with Off-grid Solar: Off-grid Solar Country Briefing: Tanzania

This country briefing is one of 13 prepared as part of a background study for the Energy Africa campaign launched…

Sources:

Overseas Development Institute

Date:

1 January 2016

Publication

Accelerating Access to Electricity in Africa with Off-grid Solar: Off-grid Solar Country Briefing: Rwanda

This country briefing is one of 13 prepared as part of a background study for the Energy Africa campaign launched…

Sources:

Overseas Development Institute

Date:

1 January 2016

Publication

Accelerating Access to Electricity in Africa with Off-grid Solar: Off-grid Solar Country Briefing: Nigeria

This country briefing is one of 13 prepared as part of a background study for the Energy Africa campaign launched…

Sources:

Overseas Development Institute

Date:

1 January 2016

Publication

Accelerating Access to Electricity in Africa with Off-grid Solar: Off-grid Solar Country Briefing: Malawi

This country briefing is one of 13 prepared as part of a background study for the Energy Africa campaign launched…

Sources:

Overseas Development Institute

Date:

1 January 2016

Publication

Accelerating Access to Electricity in Africa with Off-grid Solar: Off-grid Solar Country Briefing: Kenya

This country briefing is one of 13 prepared as part of a background study for the Energy Africa campaign launched…

Sources:

Overseas Development Institute

Date:

1 January 2016

Publication

Accelerating Access to Electricity in Africa with Off-grid Solar: Off-grid Solar Country Briefing: Ghana

This country briefing is one of 13 prepared as part of a background study for the Energy Africa campaign launched…

Sources:

Overseas Development Institute

Date:

1 January 2016

Publication

Agrivoltaic Systems to Optimise Land Use for Electric Energy Production

In this work, a patented “agrivoltaic” solar tracking system named Agrovoltaico is examined in combination with a maize crop in…

Sources:

Applied Energy

Date:

15 June 2018

Publication

Agrivoltaic Potential on Grape Farms in India

To investigate and quantify PV generation potential, without significantly harming agriculture output, the authors of this study explore the viability…

Sources:

Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments

Date:

1 October 2017

Publication

Aquavoltaics: Synergies for Dual Use of Water Area for Solar Photovoltaic Electricity Generation and Aquaculture

This paper reviews the fields of floatovoltaic technology (i.e., water-deployed solar photovoltaic systems) and aquaculture (i.e., farming of aquatic organisms)…

Sources:

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

Date:

1 December 2017

Publication

Assessing the Feasibility of Using Produced Water for Irrigation in Colorado

This research explores which counties in Colorado may be best suited to reusing produced water for agriculture based on a…

Sources:

Science of the Total Environment

Date:

1 November 2018

Publication

Cities and “Budget‐based” Management of the Energy‐Water‐Climate Nexus: Case Studies in Transportation Policy, Infrastructure Systems, and Urban Utility Risk Management

This article reviews city case studies to inform a framework for developing urban infrastructure design standards and policy instruments that…

Sources:

Environmental Progress and Sustainable Energy (AlChE)

Date:

3 November 2017

Publication

Climate and Water Resource Change Impacts and Adaptation Potential for US Power Supply

This paper evaluates the performance of 1,080 thermoelectric plants across the contiguous United States under future climates (2035–2064) and their…

Sources:

Nature International Journey of Science

University of New York

The City College of New York

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Sandia National Laboratory

Date:

30 October 2017

Tools and Websites

Columbia Water Center: Water-Food-Energy Nexus

The CWC studies how the water, food, and energy sectors are interrelated and how climate affects the relationship. On the…

Sources:

Columbia Water Center

Publication

Connecting Water and Energy: Assessing the Impacts of Carbon and Water Constraints on China’s Power Sector

The limited endowments, uneven temporal and spatial distribution of energy and water resources pose significant challenges to China’s sustainable development,…

Sources:

Applied Energy

Date:

1 January 2017