Special Issue "Management of Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water, Agriculture and Aquaculture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Larry Swatuk
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Environment, Enterprise, and Development, University of Waterloo
Interests: enviromental and natural resource governance and management
Dr. Corrine Cash
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Coady International Institute, St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia, Canada
Interests: climate change; sustainable development; cities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Much has been written about the so-called WEF (water-energy-food) Nexus. The Nexus, particularly in an era of climate change, presents major opportunities and challenges in terms of environmental sustainability, social justice, economic prosperity, and political stability. Put differently, how water, energy, and food are managed has serious security implications for people and the planet. For this Special Issue, we invite papers examining the security implications and management challenges of the WEF Nexus, including issues related to indigenous and participatory governance, agricultural expansion, urbanization, shifts in transportation, and climate change, as well as unconventional fossil fuels and renewable energies. Questions to be considered include: How does a nexus perspective transform water-related rights and responsibilities? At what scales should water be managed from a nexus perspective? What management models and conflict resolution mechanisms are most effective? How may policy coherence be realized for greater sustainability and resilience? What are the effects of a securitization of the water-energy-food nexus? The articles of the Special Issue may include theoretical discussions and case studies concerning the management of the water-energy-food security nexus.

Prof. Dr. Larry Swatuk
Dr. Corrine Cash
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • WEF Nexus
  • security
  • resilience
  • sustainability
  • securitization
  • water conflict and cooperation

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Assessing Progress towards Sustainable Development Goals through Nexus Planning
Water 2021, 13(9), 1321; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13091321 - 10 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 849
Abstract
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) acknowledge the inter-linkages between human wellbeing, economic prosperity, and a healthy environment and, hence, are associated with a wide range of topical issues that include the securities of water, energy and food resources, poverty eradication, economic development, climate change, [...] Read more.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) acknowledge the inter-linkages between human wellbeing, economic prosperity, and a healthy environment and, hence, are associated with a wide range of topical issues that include the securities of water, energy and food resources, poverty eradication, economic development, climate change, health, among others. As SDGs are assessed through targets to be achieved by 2030 and monitored through measurable indicators, this study applied the nexus planning model to monitor and evaluate progress towards SDGs using South Africa as a case study. The study highlighted pathways to ensure socio-ecological sustainability and environmental health by establishing the connectivity between SDGs and nexus approaches. The linkages between SDGs and nexus planning facilitated the sustainable management of resources in an integrated manner. They addressed the cross-sectoral synergies, value-addition, and trade-offs within interlinked sectors. The connectedness of current challenges facing humankind (climate change, rapid urbanisation, migration, and the emergence of novel infectious diseases) require transformative approaches that address these cross-cutting challenges holistically. Managing the intricate relationships between distinct but interconnected sectors through nexus planning has provided decision support tools to formulate coherent strategies that drive resilience and sustainability. The established linkages between nexus planning and SDGs have strengthened cross-sectoral collaboration and unpacked measures for cooperative governance and management through evidence-based interventions. As food production, water provision, and energy accessibility are the major socio-economic and environmental issues currently attracting global attention; the methodology promotes attaining sustainability by 2030. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus)
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Article
Pre-Warning Measurement of Water Resources Security in the Yangtze River Basin from the Perspective of Water-Energy-Food Symbiosis
Water 2021, 13(4), 475; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040475 - 12 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 664
Abstract
The Yangtze River Basin is a resource axis represented by hydropower resources, bulk agricultural products, and mining resources. However, with rapid socio-economy development, the balance between water, energy, and food elements in the region has become more fragile. As the core element of [...] Read more.
The Yangtze River Basin is a resource axis represented by hydropower resources, bulk agricultural products, and mining resources. However, with rapid socio-economy development, the balance between water, energy, and food elements in the region has become more fragile. As the core element of the water-energy-food nexus, it is necessary to study water resources security and give effective pre-warning of possible water safety problems from the perspective of water-energy-food symbiosis. In this paper, we introduce the “symbiosis theory” to build a regional water-energy-food nexus symbiosis framework. Then, we establish a Lotka–Volterra symbiotic evolution model to calculate the symbiotic security index. Finally, we judge the water security state and pre-warning level and analyze the causes of water security problems by the inverse decoupling of the indicator-index. The results show that the spatial differentiation of water security in the Yangtze River Basin is obvious from the perspective of water-energy-food symbiosis. The state of water security in the middle and upper reaches of the Yangtze River Basin is better than that in the lower reaches. Specifically, the water resources security levels in the upstream hydropower energy enrichment regions are generally low. By contrast, the water systems of some downstream socio-economically developed provinces have certain risks. Therefore, each province needs to find out the key factors that hinder the healthy development of the water resources system based on combining the evolution mechanism and symbiotic state of water-energy-food so that water security can be managed in a targeted manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus)
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Article
Infrastructure Shaming and Consequences for Management of Urban WEF Security Nexus in China and India
Water 2021, 13(3), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13030267 - 22 Jan 2021
Viewed by 652
Abstract
Worldwide, consumption of resources such as water, energy and food continues to rise exponentially despite environmental and climatic change related challenges. Centralized sewerage systems continue to be implemented worldwide despite being very water and energy intensive, and although this is not always the [...] Read more.
Worldwide, consumption of resources such as water, energy and food continues to rise exponentially despite environmental and climatic change related challenges. Centralized sewerage systems continue to be implemented worldwide despite being very water and energy intensive, and although this is not always the best option for regions facing water scarcity. Deploying the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus approach, particularly through alternative technology options that can support decentralized water reclamation with integrated resource recovery, can enable resource conservation and more effective management of the WEF security Nexus for local governments with limited capacities. However, a certain pattern of “business as usual” infrastructure development and investment linked to infrastructure shaming continuously reinforces implementation of centralized sewerage systems, thereby hampering deployment of alternative technology options. This study uses two typical case study towns, Shaxi in China and Leh in India, to describe this pattern. The study finds that alternative technology approaches were in place in both towns. Yet after international consulting companies got involved, centralized sewerage systems were implemented despite limited water availability and large segments of the population not having flush toilets. This study discusses management of the WEF security Nexus implications thereof in the context of cities worldwide and a systemic socio-technical transition to a circular economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus)
Article
Identifying Optimal Security Management Policy for Water–Energy–Food Nexus System under Stochastic and Fuzzy Conditions
Water 2020, 12(11), 3268; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113268 - 21 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 744
Abstract
An interval-stochastic-fuzzy policy analysis model is proposed to generate optimal security management policy for a water–energy–food nexus system of the urban agglomeration under multiple uncertainties. A number of planning policies under interval-stochastic surface water and groundwater conditions are obtained. Ranking scores of all [...] Read more.
An interval-stochastic-fuzzy policy analysis model is proposed to generate optimal security management policy for a water–energy–food nexus system of the urban agglomeration under multiple uncertainties. A number of planning policies under interval-stochastic surface water and groundwater conditions are obtained. Ranking scores of all policies in descending order, policy with the highest score is the best choice. Results disclose that (a) interval-stochastic available water resources lead to changing system benefits. (b) The shares of cropland area targets are 2.7% (Xiamen), 42.6% (Zhangzhou), and 54.7% (Quanzhou). (c) Different available water scenarios result in varied irrigation patterns. (d) Surface water takes a high fraction of the total water supply (about [71.34, 73.68]%), diesel agricultural machinery service more than 60% of the total cropland. (e) Zhangzhou contributes about 50.01% of total TN and TP emissions, while Quanzhou contributes about 50.61% of total carbon emission. (f) Security level of policies would change with the varied σ and α values, due to the risk attitudes of policy makers. (h) Sweet potato and others are the crops with the highest safety performance; (i) Zhangzhou is the city with highest comprehensive safety performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus)
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Article
Water–Energy–Food Nexus Framework for Promoting Regional Integration in Central Asia
Water 2020, 12(7), 1896; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12071896 - 03 Jul 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1890
Abstract
This paper focuses on regional integration through the lenses of the Water–Food–Energy (WEF) nexus, a concept putting strong emphasis on cross-sectoral and multi-level interactions as well as on resource interdependencies. There is an extensive amount of published research focusing on the Aral Sea [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on regional integration through the lenses of the Water–Food–Energy (WEF) nexus, a concept putting strong emphasis on cross-sectoral and multi-level interactions as well as on resource interdependencies. There is an extensive amount of published research focusing on the Aral Sea basin. In this paper, the authors build upon these different contributions and provide a meta-analysis of the literature of WEF nexus opportunities in Central Asia (CA) countries. This paper contributes to ongoing discussions regarding how the WEF Nexus can represent an opportunity for reinforced collaboration regarding resources management. To do so, focusing on existing literature, this paper first (1) explores how the nexus can be a relevant instrument for regional integration. Second (2), it provides an overview of water, food, energy conditions and challenges in the Aral Sea basin in particular. Third (3), synthesizing existing research, the authors identify critical variables to be considered as hurdles or leverage points for WEF nexus implementation in the Aral Sea basin. Finally (4), we go back to our initial set of questions and identify some possible avenues for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus)
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Article
Optimizing the Management Strategies of a Multi-Purpose Multi-Reservoir System in Vietnam
Water 2020, 12(4), 938; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12040938 - 26 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1181
Abstract
Resource shortages are having an increasingly severe impact as global trends like rapid population growth, urbanization, economic development, and climate change unfold. Moreover, rising living standards across many regions are also affecting water and energy resources. This entails an urgent requirement to improve [...] Read more.
Resource shortages are having an increasingly severe impact as global trends like rapid population growth, urbanization, economic development, and climate change unfold. Moreover, rising living standards across many regions are also affecting water and energy resources. This entails an urgent requirement to improve water resources management. An important improvement is to transfer water between the different uses of the reservoir system. A compromise between the needs of hydropower generation and the water supply can be negotiated for the reservoir system to reduce the severity of water shortages. The Be River basin in Vietnam was selected as a case study to investigate. The combination of the generalized water allocation simulation model (GWASIM) and the bounded optimization by quadratic approximation (BOBYQA) algorithm was applied to optimize hydropower generation in various water shortage scenarios. The results present optimized hydropower generation policies for cascade reservoirs that would significantly improve the present operating policy in terms of both the water supply and hydropower generation. Moreover, multiple scenarios will provide flexibility to the reservoir operator by giving the relationship between water and energy. Given water supply conditions, the operator will be able to choose among several optimal solutions to ensure greater water resource efficiency in the Be River basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus)
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Review

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Review
Water, Energy and Food Supply Security in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries—A Risk Perspective
Water 2019, 11(3), 455; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030455 - 04 Mar 2019
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 3118
Abstract
Supply systems for water, energy and food in the Gulf region are becoming highly interlinked. In the last decades, interdependence was evident in the increase of coproduction plants and the cross-sectoral resource use footprints. In light of increasing integration due to growing scarcities, [...] Read more.
Supply systems for water, energy and food in the Gulf region are becoming highly interlinked. In the last decades, interdependence was evident in the increase of coproduction plants and the cross-sectoral resource use footprints. In light of increasing integration due to growing scarcities, the construction of mega projects for coproduction, and the use of renewables across sectors, the security notion can be revisited. This paper proposes a view of the resource supply security based on the systems’ characteristics under change and their ability to deal with risks and shocks (resilience). It introduces internal and external risk factors for the water, energy and food supply systems in the Gulf region and highlights recent knowledge on such risks. Further, the paper explains the vulnerability of supply systems to planning risks like scale, integration intensity and level of service provisions together with risks related to growth, technology, market and climate. In light of such insecurities, we stress the importance of investing in risk management and resilience policies in infrastructure planning. Response measures to future risks can focus on options like storage, knowledge, diversification and, importantly, promoting regional cooperation and synergies from common infrastructure planning between countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus)
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Review
Prospects for Improving Irrigated Agriculture in Southern Africa: Linking Water, Energy and Food
Water 2018, 10(12), 1881; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10121881 - 19 Dec 2018
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2730
Abstract
Increasing agricultural productivity has always been a prominent feature on the regional agenda due to a high incidence of food and nutrition insecurity. This review assessed the current status of irrigated agriculture in southern Africa from a water–energy–food (WEF) nexus perspective. Gaps and [...] Read more.
Increasing agricultural productivity has always been a prominent feature on the regional agenda due to a high incidence of food and nutrition insecurity. This review assessed the current status of irrigated agriculture in southern Africa from a water–energy–food (WEF) nexus perspective. Gaps and opportunities for improving irrigated agriculture within the context of the WEF nexus were also assessed in terms of the feasible limits to which they can be exploited. Southern Africa faces water scarcity, and climate projections show that member states will face increased physical and/or economic water scarcity by as early as 2025, which will have negative impacts on water, energy and food production. Recurrent droughts experienced across the region reaffirm the sensitive issues of food and energy insecurity as well as water scarcity. Projections of an increasing population within the region indicate increased water, energy and food demand. With agriculture already accounting for about 70% of water withdrawals, increasing the area under irrigation will place additional demand on already strained energy grids and scarce water resources. This poses the question—is increasing irrigated agriculture a solution to improving water access, food security and energy supply? While there are prospects for increasing the area under irrigation and subsequent improvement in agricultural productivity, adopting a WEF nexus approach in doing so would mitigate trade-offs and unintended consequences. Consideration of the WEF nexus in integrated resources planning and management eliminates the possibilities of transferring problems from one sector to other, as it manages synergies and trade-offs. While it is acknowledged that improving water productivity in irrigated agriculture could reduce water and energy use while increasing yield output, there is a need to decide how such savings would then be reallocated. Any intervention to increase the irrigated area should be done in the context of a WEF nexus analytical framework to guide policy and decision-making. Technical planning should evolve around the WEF nexus approach in setting targets, as WEF nexus indicators would reveal the performance and impact of proposed interventions on any of the three WEF nexus components. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus)
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Other

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Concept Paper
Defining the Nature of the Nexus: Specialization, Connectedness, Scarcity, and Scale in Food–Energy–Water Management
Water 2020, 12(4), 972; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12040972 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1428
Abstract
There is an increasing appreciation that food–energy–water (FEW) nexus problems are approaching criticality in both the developing and developed world. As researchers and managers attempt to address these complex resource management issues, the concept of the FEW nexus has generated a rapidly growing [...] Read more.
There is an increasing appreciation that food–energy–water (FEW) nexus problems are approaching criticality in both the developing and developed world. As researchers and managers attempt to address these complex resource management issues, the concept of the FEW nexus has generated a rapidly growing footprint in global sustainability discourse. However, this momentum in the FEW nexus space could be better guided if researchers could more clearly identify what is and is not a FEW problem. Without this conceptual clarity, it can be difficult to defend the position that FEW innovations will produce desired outcomes and avoid unintended consequences. Here we examine the growing FEW nexus scholarship to critically evaluate what features are necessary to define a FEW nexus. This analysis suggests that the FEW nexus differs from sector-focused natural resource or sustainability problems in both complexity and stakes. It also motivates two new foci for research: the identification of low-dimension indexes of FEW system status and approaches for identifying boundaries of specific FEW nexuses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus)
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