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Tracing the water-energy-food nexus: description, theory and practice

Leck, Hayley, Conway, Declan ORCID: 0000-0002-4590-6733, Bradshaw, Michael and Rees, Judith A. (2015) Tracing the water-energy-food nexus: description, theory and practice. Geography Compass, 9 (8). pp. 445-460. ISSN 1749-8198

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Identification Number: 10.1111/gec3.12222


The ‘nexus’ between water, energy and food (WEF) has gained increasing attention globally in research, business and policy spheres. We review the premise of recent initiatives framed around the nexus, examine the challenge of achieving the type of disciplinary boundary crossing promoted by the nexus agenda and consider how to operationalise what has to date been a largely paper exercise. The WEF nexus has been promoted through international meetings and calls for new research agendas. It is clear from the literature that many aims of nexus approaches pre-date the recent nexus agenda; these have encountered significant barriers to progress, including challenges to cross-disciplinary collaboration, complexity, political economy (often perceived to be under-represented in nexus research) and incompatibility of current institutional structures. Indeed, the ambitious aims of the nexus—the desire to capture multiple interdependencies across three major sectors, across disciplines and across scales—could become its downfall. However, greater recognition of interdependencies across state and non-state actors, more sophisticated modelling systems to assess and quantify WEF linkages and the sheer scale of WEF resource use globally, could create enough momentum to overcome historical barriers and establish nexus approaches as part of a wider repertoire of responses to global environmental change.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Climate Change Economics and Policy
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2015 13:21
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:04
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council

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