We often promote coordination as a goal, particularly in relation to policy and planning. But however important it may be, achieving coordination is far from easy. Enhanced coordination is a key feature of the water–energy–food (WEF) nexus – an agenda that highlights the interdependencies that exist between these sectors. There are two complementary dimensions to understanding the WEF nexus: quantifying the physical links between each element, and unravelling the management and governance structures involved.

This paper introduces two approaches to address the former, in quite different ways. One uses a multi-scale analysis of nexus linkages in the Gulf region to show how integrating datasets can allow a more integrated analysis of WEF interdependencies, and in so doing highlight emerging areas of risk. The other shows how application of visualisation methods in a river basin can help present to stakeholders the complex relationships that exist across the WEF nexus and hence aid decision-making. The work sought guidance on what various stakeholders felt were important services that development in the river basin should achieve sustainably (performance indicators) and then simulated many thousands of combinations of options to identify which ones worked best across the different performance indicators using multi-objective optimisation.
These examples show how a nexus approach can reveal that a country’s food imports are associated with unsustainable agricultural practices and where the use of innovative modelling and visualisation techniques can provide opportunities to convey the complex outcomes of decisions, capturing alternative perspectives and values. Coordination is hard to achieve, but new datasets and innovative methods of visualisation offer promise in addressing at least some of the barriers that confront progress in moving forward a nexus agenda.


Declan Conway


Poster Session 2 (Water/Food), Room 1 - 28th September, 09:45-10:45



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