Our global community is facing unprecedented risks and challenges that are directly linked to the way we currently understand and manage our resources. Providing sustainable solutions to overcome present challenges poses the need to study the existent interlinkages between these resources. The nature of the intimate relation between water, energy, and food forces a paradigm shift in the management approach; moving from silos to more integrative approaches. The presented WEF nexus framework and tool offers a dynamic model for systematic integration of resources in the planning and decision making processes. It provides an opportunity for resolving current and foreseen bottlenecks and answering critical questions related to energy, water and food securities, governed by a comprehensive framework that reflects the multidimensional and interdisciplinary nature of resource management projects.
Different risks are accompanied with this high reliance on imports to sustain supply for local consumption. Increasing local production is a decision that requires comprehensive understanding of the concerned interconnected systems. Agriculture is a high water consumer. Water is needed for producing energy. Energy is needed to secure needed water through pumping, or desalination, or other. Energy is also needed for agricultural production and transport. Water, energy, and food are three highly connected systems. Integrative planning is thus a must in order to ensure sustainable growth is achieved while eliminating unintended consequences.
The tool allows the user to create different scenarios with varying food self-sufficiencies, water sources, energy sources, and countries of import. The output includes a summary of:
The user is able to discover and visualize the amount of resources consumed by different proposed scenarios. The user would also able to decide the importance of each of the systems (water, local energy, local carbon, land, financial, energy through import and carbon through import). According to input given by user, the tool calculates the “sustainability index” of each of the proposed scenarios.