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Open AccessArticle

Water–Food–Energy Nexus Tradeoffs in the São Marcos River Basin

Institute of Hydraulic Research (IPH), Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre-RS 90640-002, Brazil
Department of Civil and Water Engineering, Université Laval, Quebec City, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
Department of Civil Engineering, Universidad de Chile, Santiago 8330015, Chile
Energy Center, Universidad de Chile, Santiago 8320000, Chile
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Kenneth M. Persson and Akintunde O. Babatunde
Water 2021, 13(6), 817;
Received: 8 December 2020 / Revised: 5 February 2021 / Accepted: 10 March 2021 / Published: 16 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Management for Agricultural, Environmental and Urban Uses)
Given its potentialities and characteristics, energy generation, food production, and water availability have a strong interdependency and correlation. Water is needed to produce energy and food, while energy is required to produce water and food. This nexus brings several challenges when scarce water resources must be allocated among competing uses, often in the form of unexpected tradeoffs. Addressing those challenges requires knowledge about the water–food–energy nexus and the associated tradeoffs to support water allocation and management decisions. Those tradeoffs are still not properly understood in the uncertain and stochastic context of water availability. When not properly accounted for, the results are conflicts, loss of investments, environmental impacts, and limited effectiveness of sectoral policies, all of which undermine a country’s development model relying on water and energy security. This paper addresses the competitive uses of recent irrigated agriculture expansion and existing hydropower production in a Brazilian watershed with water conflicts, assessing the economic tradeoffs and water values between energy and irrigated agricultural production under uncertainty. An explicitly stochastic hydro-economic model is used to determine water’s economic value and its variation in space and time. Results indicate that the agricultural benefits outweigh the potential energy losses, and the best course of action should explore an economically compensated reallocation strategy, upon negotiation among users, rather than imposing water supply cutbacks to the agriculture sector. View Full-Text
Keywords: water resources economics; marginal value of water; economic tradeoffs water resources economics; marginal value of water; economic tradeoffs
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bof, P.H.; Marques, G.F.; Tilmant, A.; Dalcin, A.P.; Olivares, M. Water–Food–Energy Nexus Tradeoffs in the São Marcos River Basin. Water 2021, 13, 817.

AMA Style

Bof PH, Marques GF, Tilmant A, Dalcin AP, Olivares M. Water–Food–Energy Nexus Tradeoffs in the São Marcos River Basin. Water. 2021; 13(6):817.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bof, Pedro H.; Marques, Guilherme F.; Tilmant, Amaury; Dalcin, Ana P.; Olivares, Marcelo. 2021. "Water–Food–Energy Nexus Tradeoffs in the São Marcos River Basin" Water 13, no. 6: 817.

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