Is the Nexus Approach a Way to Decode the Higher Order Interlinkages between the Water–Food–Energy–Health–Biodiversity?

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Resources Management, Policy and Governance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2023) | Viewed by 15828

Special Issue Editor

Institute for Global Environmental Strategies | IGES, Natural Resources and Ecosystem Services (NRE), Kamiyamaguchi, Hayama, Kanagawa, Japan
Interests: hydrological modeling; urban water management; wastewater management; sustainable development goals
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Rapid global changes (e.g., population growth, land use land cover changes, climate change, urbanization, etc.), are giving a ripple effects on different natural resources like food, air, water, energy, and biodiversity.  These challenges are so much interlinked, that often one challenge leads to an increased chance of others. For example, water pollution leads to food insecurity and health issues, whereas unmanaged food production leads to water pollution and health issue.

Moreover, current management practices and policy interventions are mainly looking into one-way interaction and silos (e.eg water, food, agriculture, forest, etc.) rather than a holistic approach. With such policies, complex interlinkages between different sectors are often overlooked resulting in misinterpretation of interaction between humans and the environment. However, this trend is changing with the introduction of holistic policy frameworks such as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), One Earth, One Health, Planetary Health, etc. Hence, to address these complex issues, the nexus approach is vital in nature to transform our socio-economic well-being. It will also help to evaluate the nature of future frameworks in a more sustainable manner.

With the above background, this Special Issue will deal with the following issue:

  • How relevant existing scientific information is there to interpret nexus issues.
  • Is the nexus approach important to advance sustainable development on the earth?
  • Policy challenges and opportunities related to the nexus approach.

Dr. Pankaj Kumar
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • nexus
  • transformative changes
  • water-food-energy-health-biodiversity
  • natures future's framework
  • SDGs
  • planetary health
  • big data
  • hydrological simulation

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 9749 KiB  
Article
Occurrence and Distribution of Fluoride in Groundwater and Drinking Water Vulnerability of a Tropical Dry Region of Andhra Pradesh, India
Water 2024, 16(4), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/w16040577 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 745
Abstract
There has been a growing concern over the occurrence of fluoride (F) in groundwater and the impact of F exposure on human health issues over the past decades. So, this study conducted a regional–scale assessment of the occurrence and trend [...] Read more.
There has been a growing concern over the occurrence of fluoride (F) in groundwater and the impact of F exposure on human health issues over the past decades. So, this study conducted a regional–scale assessment of the occurrence and trend of groundwater F distribution [2014–2018] integrated with locally field–based investigations on F exposure to a few selected families (10 households and 35 respondents) and reason behind their consumption of F containing water (n = 18). In the local study, water samples were collected from multiple sources around the selected households by dividing them into consumptive and non–consumptive use. Results revealed that across the state of Andhra Pradesh, the occurrence of F is more than the permissible limit in groundwater, and it has been increasing over the years (2014–2018) (average SD is 0.55), and the local study showed that the groundwater had an average of 1.5 mg/L F, while other sourced water had an average of <1 mg/L F. Most interestingly, nine families are consuming non–F containing water (<0.52 mg F/day) which is commercially available, while only one family is consuming F containing groundwater and being exposed to >3 mg F/day. This disparity in fluoride exposure is dependent on economic stability and health exposure policies. Full article
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23 pages, 13409 KiB  
Article
Hydrogeology and Hydrogeochemistry of Saline Groundwater Seepage Zones in Wadi Bani Malik Basin, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Impacts on Soil and Water Resources
Water 2023, 15(19), 3464; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15193464 - 30 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 895
Abstract
The water seepage zone affects dryland salinity, soil sodicity, land degradation, waterlogging, and rainfall pollution. The priority in terms of the remediation measures was determining the cause of the seepages. Nine water and six soil samples were collected from the Al Tayseer area [...] Read more.
The water seepage zone affects dryland salinity, soil sodicity, land degradation, waterlogging, and rainfall pollution. The priority in terms of the remediation measures was determining the cause of the seepages. Nine water and six soil samples were collected from the Al Tayseer area of the Wadi Bani Malik, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (SA). The water samples were analyzed for major and toxic metals. For the soil samples, granulometric analysis and infiltration rate analysis were performed. The total dissolved solids (TDS) in water seepages ranged from 1880 to 54,499, whereas boron (B) and iron (Fe) values ranged from 1.9 to 38 mg/L and 0.02 and 0.47 mg/L, respectively. These concentrations were the same for the aquifer in Lake Al Misk, confirming that groundwater infiltration from the lake area was the main reason for the water seepage. The concentrations of silica (Si), aluminum (Al), cobalt (Co), nickel (Ni), zinc (Zn), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), and lead (Pb) were low, indicating that there was no contamination. The nitrate (NO32−) value ranged from 2.2 to 35 mg/L, indicating agricultural wastewater contribution. According to the granulometric examination, most sediment was sand, followed by gravel, with few fine-grain particles. The infiltration rate ranged from 85 to 864 cm/d, indicating significant leakage. The percentage of ferrugination, ferromagnesian, OH-bearing, and carbonate (CO₃2−) minerals is determined by the 4/2, 5/6, and 6/7 band ratios. Full article
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17 pages, 2479 KiB  
Article
Socio-Hydrological Approach for Water Resource Management and Human Well-Being in Pinglin District, Taiwan
Water 2023, 15(18), 3302; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15183302 - 19 Sep 2023
Viewed by 831
Abstract
Despite being a limited resource, pollution, poor management, and other drivers like climate change make available water unsuitable and insufficient for human consumption and ecosystem maintenance. Therefore, a transdisciplinary approach is needed for managing this precious resource. The overall aim of this paper [...] Read more.
Despite being a limited resource, pollution, poor management, and other drivers like climate change make available water unsuitable and insufficient for human consumption and ecosystem maintenance. Therefore, a transdisciplinary approach is needed for managing this precious resource. The overall aim of this paper is to address water inequalities and improve human well-being using an integrated approach of key informant interviews, hydrological modeling, and the payment of ecosystem services (PES) scheme in Pinglin District, Taiwan. This site is an upstream area of Feicui Reservoir, which protects the downstream tap water supply. Key informant interviews were conducted to identify the gaps in and challenges to water resource management. This was followed by a scenario-based hydrological simulation using a Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) tool to project future water quality by the year 2050 (using biochemical oxygen demand and total coliform content as key indicator parameters) and to trace the factors responsible for water pollution. Survey analysis of key informant interviews depicts that this area is facing several challenges, such as lack of water infrastructure, agricultural subsidy, construction restrictions, etc., which cumulatively cause water scarcity in the upstream regions. On the other hand, hydrological simulation results show that population decline and climate change under an RCP 8.5 scenario will have an enormous negative impact on water quality. The concentrations of BOD and E. coli in river water will expand by 110.1% and 117.3%, respectively, by 2050 compared to 2018. Finally, the results of the study suggest that the PES scheme can play a positive role in enabling integrated water resource management. For example construction of a small-scale wastewater treatment plant in the upstream area will reduce the total E. coli concentration by up to 90%. While the initial cost of construction will be taken care of by the government, the operation and management cost of this infrastructure will be covered by people living downstream, who need to pay only $0.10 per year per person. The obtained results should be vital for both the stakeholders and decision-makers in this region. Full article
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26 pages, 5049 KiB  
Article
Comprehensive Drought Vulnerability Assessment in Northwestern Odisha: A Fuzzy Logic and Analytical Hierarchy Process Integration Approach
Water 2023, 15(18), 3210; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15183210 - 08 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1144
Abstract
Crafting a comprehensive strategy to mitigate the impact of droughts, a complex geo-hazard profoundly affecting socio-economic aspects, entails the creation of a drought vulnerability map as a primary step. This study harmonizes geospatial techniques and the Fuzzy Analytical Hierarchy Process (fuzzy AHP) to [...] Read more.
Crafting a comprehensive strategy to mitigate the impact of droughts, a complex geo-hazard profoundly affecting socio-economic aspects, entails the creation of a drought vulnerability map as a primary step. This study harmonizes geospatial techniques and the Fuzzy Analytical Hierarchy Process (fuzzy AHP) to formulate such a map for northwestern Odisha, India. From six principal drought-induced vulnerability parameters, namely physical attributes, water demand and usage, agriculture, land use, groundwater and population/development, 22 sub-parameters were selected. Spatial layers were generated for each sub-parameter, followed by their fuzzification using a fuzzy membership approach. Subsequently, AHP was employed to establish parameter weights through pair-wise comparisons. By applying the weighted overlay method, drought vulnerability maps were generated, classifying regions into five vulnerability levels: very high, high, moderate, low, and very low. The outcomes indicate that roughly 33% of the area is classified as having high drought vulnerability. Validation of the approach using statistical metrics, including accuracy, root mean square error and mean absolute error, demonstrates its efficacy in gauging drought vulnerability, thereby aiding planners in devising effective drought mitigation strategies. Full article
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22 pages, 11998 KiB  
Article
Modeling Aquifer Responses from Flash Flood Events through Ephemeral Stream Beds: Case Studies from Saudi Arabia
Water 2023, 15(15), 2735; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15152735 - 28 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 793
Abstract
The determination of groundwater recharge (GWR) with an appropriate method is among the main subjects of groundwater resource management. This research is an event-scale quantitative assessment and a development of a water balance model of an aquifer response resulting from flash flooding and [...] Read more.
The determination of groundwater recharge (GWR) with an appropriate method is among the main subjects of groundwater resource management. This research is an event-scale quantitative assessment and a development of a water balance model of an aquifer response resulting from flash flooding and infiltration from the ephemeral streambed of some representative basins in Saudi Arabia. The methodology employed in the water balance analysis of this study starts with surface runoff rather than rainfall as in the literature, since the recharge process mainly occurs from runoff on the ground surface. A conceptual model of the local surface–subsurface interaction is developed to estimate the effective aquifer response (AR). The annual cumulative groundwater recharge (GWR) depths vary from 1.22 m to 6.97 m, with an average rise of 4.24 m at the studied wells; most of this happened following the May and April flash flood events. The results show also similar profile patterns and timings for most of the water level rises and falls. An average root mean square error (RMSE) of 0.46 m is obtained from the simulations and the coefficient of determination (R2) values range from 0.57 to 0.99. The results verified that the daily simulated groundwater elevations have shown very good agreement with the observed daily groundwater elevations over a time span of one year. In this work, the key issue to interpret the GWR depth from individual well samples is whether the model on the samples fits the measured groundwater level within the experimental runoff reaches (ERRs). The time steps (Δt) of the GWR simulation process are significantly affected by the high variability in the aquifer characteristics, as shown for the hydraulic conductivity values ranging from 5.3 m/day to 438 m/day within ERRs. This study highly recommends that groundwater recharge studies be site-specific. Otherwise, the extrapolation of the results even to adjacent basins is questionable. Full article
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30 pages, 8644 KiB  
Article
Morphometric Determination and Digital Geological Mapping by RS and GIS Techniques in Aseer–Jazan Contact, Southwest Saudi Arabia
Water 2023, 15(13), 2438; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15132438 - 01 Jul 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2172
Abstract
The hydrological characteristics of the watershed in the southern Aseer and northern Jazan regions of Saudi Arabia (SA) were identified by integrated remote sensing (RS) and geographic information system (GIS) techniques using Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) and Landsat data. For this purpose, [...] Read more.
The hydrological characteristics of the watershed in the southern Aseer and northern Jazan regions of Saudi Arabia (SA) were identified by integrated remote sensing (RS) and geographic information system (GIS) techniques using Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) and Landsat data. For this purpose, the Wadi Ishran, Wadi Baysh, Wadi Itwad, Wadi Tabab, and Wadi Bayd drainage basins were extracted. Wadi Ishran is the largest, and Wadi Tabab is the smallest. Stream order and bifurcation ratio show that the Itwad and Bayd basins are permeable and of high aquifer potentiality. The multisupervised classification found seven rock units that were spread out in different ways across the basins. The areas with the highest vegetation were in the southeast, the centre, and the northwest. The bands’ ratios show more iron-rich sediments in the northeast and southwest. This paper’s outcomes serve as the basis for planning and managing groundwater resources. It finds potential groundwater zones, determines the risk of flooding, and chooses places where harvesting can be undertaken. Full article
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21 pages, 17747 KiB  
Article
Novel Ensemble Machine Learning Modeling Approach for Groundwater Potential Mapping in Parbhani District of Maharashtra, India
Water 2023, 15(3), 419; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15030419 - 19 Jan 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2410
Abstract
Groundwater is an essential source of water especially in arid and semi-arid regions of the world. The demand for water due to exponential increase in population has created stresses on available groundwater resources. Further, climate change has affected the quantity of water globally. [...] Read more.
Groundwater is an essential source of water especially in arid and semi-arid regions of the world. The demand for water due to exponential increase in population has created stresses on available groundwater resources. Further, climate change has affected the quantity of water globally. Many parts of Indian cities are experiencing water scarcity. Thus, assessment of groundwater potential is necessary for sustainable utilization and management of water resources. We utilized a novel ensemble approach using artificial neural network multi-layer perceptron (ANN-MLP), random forest (RF), M5 prime (M5P) and support vector machine for regression (SMOReg) models for assessing groundwater potential in the Parbhani district of Maharashtra in India. Ten site-specific influencing factors, elevation, slope, aspect, drainage density, rainfall, water table depth, lineament density, land use land cover, geomorphology, and soil types, were integrated for preparation of groundwater potential zones. The results revealed that the largest area of the district was found under moderate category GWP zone followed by poor, good, very good and very poor. Spatial distribution of GWP zones showed that Poor GWPZs are spread over north, central and southern parts of the district. Very poor GWPZs are mostly found in the north-western and southern parts of the district. The study calls for policy implications to conserve and manage groundwater in these parts. The ensembled model has proved to be effective for assessment of GWP zones. The outcome of the study may help stakeholders efficiently utilize groundwater and devise suitable strategies for its management. Other geographical regions may find the methodology adopted in this study effective for groundwater potential assessment. Full article
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20 pages, 16297 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of the Impact of Drought and Saline Water Intrusion on Rice Yields in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Water 2022, 14(21), 3499; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14213499 - 01 Nov 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2420
Abstract
The Mekong delta is Vietnam’s premier rice growing region, forming the livelihood basis for millions of farmers. At the same time, the region is facing various challenges, ranging from extreme weather events, saline water intrusion, and other anthropogenic pressures. This study examines how [...] Read more.
The Mekong delta is Vietnam’s premier rice growing region, forming the livelihood basis for millions of farmers. At the same time, the region is facing various challenges, ranging from extreme weather events, saline water intrusion, and other anthropogenic pressures. This study examines how saline water intrusion and drought have affected rice yield in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD). Applying the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and the maximum and minimum values of annual average salinity, we spatially examine the effects of drought and saline water intrusion on rice yields over a 40-year period (1980–2019). Our results highlight that 42% of the natural land area of the VMD has experienced increased drought occurrence during the winter-spring (WS) rice cropping season, while certain inland regions have additionally experienced increased drought occurrence during the summer-autumn (SA) rice cropping season. The Tri Ton Station, which has a significant Sen’s slope of −0.025 and a p-value of 0.05, represents an upstream semi-mountainous part of the delta, indicative of a rising severity of reoccurring drought. It should be noted that the yield decreases during the summer-autumn season as the positive SPI_SA increases. Salinity, on the other hand, is associated with SPI_WS during the winter-spring season. Our results highlight the need for improved evidence-based planning and investments in priority adaptation for both sustainable water infrastructure and to improve system resilience. Full article
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23 pages, 7208 KiB  
Article
Water Accounting Using Satellite Products and Water Accounting Plus Framework in a Semi-Arid Betwa River Basin, India
Water 2022, 14(21), 3473; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14213473 - 30 Oct 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3755
Abstract
The emerging water crisis in India can be preempted by improving watershed management. The data scare regions need open access satellite observations to mitigate watershed problems. The water accounting plus (WA+) and open access earth observation datasets were applied to quantify the beneficial [...] Read more.
The emerging water crisis in India can be preempted by improving watershed management. The data scare regions need open access satellite observations to mitigate watershed problems. The water accounting plus (WA+) and open access earth observation datasets were applied to quantify the beneficial and non-beneficial water consumption in the Betwa River basin, Central India. The PERSIANN and CHIRPS precipitations were evaluated. Based on significant statistical relations with IMD rainfall, CHIRPS was found to be the best precipitation product. The seasonal water yield from PERSIANN depicts that the high water yield in the basin is associated with the July and August months of the monsoon season, with water yields of 240 mm/month and 120 mm/month, respectively, while CHIRPS showed higher water yields during the monsoon season, especially in July and August, with water yield amounts of 290 mm/month and 200 mm/month, respectively. The largest water consuming land use class is irrigated crops–cereals, which cover 62.06% of the total area of the basin. The amount of non-beneficial ET is almost twice the beneficial ET. The outcomes of this research will be helpful for sustainable water management, strategy development, and policy making. Full article
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