Growing Food, Water and Energy “Nexus” : Important to balance the Priorities !
Growing Food, Water and Energy “Nexus”: Important to balance the Priorities
With the global population growing at a rate of approximately 80 million people a year, by 2030 it is estimated that the world will need 30% more water, 50% more energy and 50% more food.
To meet this growing need for water, food and energy we can no longer deal with these issues separately, as they are often interlinked. Food, water and energy systems are interconnected. The Nexus is how and where these three systems intersect. Because actions related to one system can impact one or both of the other systems, their interlocking relationship is known as the ‘water-food-energy nexus’.
At the heart of the Nexus approach is a strong understanding of the interdependencies among these three systems and how to ensure food, water and energy security for an ever-growing population. The interactions among water, energy and food are numerous and substantial. Water is used for extraction, mining, processing, refining, and residue disposal of fossil fuels, as well as for growing feedstock for biofuels and for generating electricity. Water intensity varies in the energy sector, with oil and gas production requiring much less water than oil from tar sands or biofuels. Choosing biofuels for energy production should require a careful balancing of priorities, since water that has been used to grow feedstock for biofuels could also have been used to grow food. Food production is by far the largest consumer of global fresh water supplies. Globally, agriculture is responsible for an average of 70% of fresh water consumption by humans; in some countries that figure jumps to 80%-90%. Agriculture is therefore also responsible for much of fresh water over-exploitation
This will require the work of individuals, businesses and government
The food, water and energy nexus is simply where and how these three systems connect:
- It takes water and energy to produce the food you eat.
- Energy is used to move water to your home, to heat that water and then to clean up the water you send down the drain.
- Water is required to run power plants safely and to produce oil, gas and coal.
A deep understanding of the Nexus will provide the informed and transparent framework that is required to meet increasing global demands without compromising sustainability.
The Nexus approach will allow decision-makers to develop appropriate policies, strategies and investments, to explore and exploit synergies, and to identify and mitigate trade-offs among the development goals related to water, energy and food security.
To advance the goal of integrated planning, policy and management, it is important to increase awareness about how these systems three intersect greater coordination is necessary. A true nexus approach can only be achieved through close collaboration of all actors from all sectors and especially accelerating the involvement of the private sector through establishing and promoting the business case for both sustainability and the nexus is essential to driving change and getting to scale.
Nexus Resource Platform: http://www.water-energy-food.org/en/home.html