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Utrecht University (2019)

The Operationalization of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus by the Integration into Integrated Water Resource Management

Swieten, R.S. van

Titre : The Operationalization of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus by the Integration into Integrated Water Resource Management

Auteur : Swieten, R.S. van

Université de soutenance : Utrecht University

Grade : Master 2019

Résumé
Human society is constantly depleting the limited resources of water, energy and food. Due to the growing population the resource demand is expected to further increase over the next decades. The concept of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus (WEF Nexus) discuss the trade-offs and synergies between all three resources and the associated challenges. The operationalization of the WEF Nexus could result in higher economic efficiency, sustainable resource use and improved livelihoods. Nevertheless, research on WEF Nexus methods is often focused on the understanding WEF Nexus challenges. Widely applicable tools guiding towards operationalization are still lacking. In this study, the integration of the WEF Nexus indicators into Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) is proposed as a valuable method for the operationalization. A set of key WEF Nexus 15 indicators is identified in a literature study, which provides a basic tool for the assessment of WEF Nexus integration into the concept of IWRM. These indicators are related to the interlinkages between water and food (irrigation, livestock, fishing), water and energy (hydropower, bioenergy, electricity generation, fossil fuel processing), energy and food (farm machinery, fertilizer production, transport and processing of food) and energy and water (pumping, treatment, desalinization, transport of water). The interlinkages of food demand for water and food demand to energy production appeared to be less relevant. The integration of these WEF Nexus indicators into three IWRM case studies in India, Iran and Mali is analysed. Furthermore, the relevance of the indicators is assessed based on an analyses of Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP) scenarios. The results showed that the identified WEF Nexus indicators are, even though they proved to be relevant, not yet integrated into the IWRM models and case studies. The indicators for water required for agriculture are sufficiently integrated but energy indicators are mainly lacking. Therefore, IWRM case studies of Deltares proved to have a water-centred approach. By the integration of the set of WEF Nexus key indicators into the models and methods used for future case studies, IWRM could function as a valuable tool for operationalization. In the first stages of future IWRM studies the WEF Nexus indicators should be critically assessed, because not each indicator is equally relevant for all case study. The results of this study are focused on the reports and methods of Deltares, but the identified indicators could function as a basic tool for the assessment of WEF Nexus integration into other IWRM studies

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