Understanding Water-Food-Energy Nexus in the Climate Change Era and the Roadmap to Implementation in South Africa

Understanding Water-Food-Energy Nexus in the Climate Change Era and the Roadmap to Implementation in South Africa

Joan Mwihaki Nyika
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3343-7.ch008
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WFE nexus is an important aspect in building sustainable economies. Water is used in food production while water supply and food processing require energy. Understanding the interrelationships of the nexus components is a growing interest for researchers and policymakers towards sustainable development. This chapter analyses the in-depth meaning of the WFE nexus, its importance, and its involved processes. The chapter also evaluates the effects of climate change on the nexus using case examples in South Africa. It also proposes a road map to facilitate better management of the nexus by recommending useful action plans. These action plans prioritize on baseline data collection, optimization of WFE nexus processes and cooperative management of resources, and climate change adaptation.
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Definition Of The Wfe Nexus

The WFE nexus is closely associated to integrated water resources management (IWRM) and has particular focus on water resources. It aims at using integrated approaches to assess investments and designs of multi-sectors while balancing objectives, values and motivations of competing parties. This affiliation however, is the source of the concept’s criticism with authors purporting that it has skewed focus on water rather than natural resources, which demeans its holistic nature (Smajgl et al., 2015; Bohensky et al., 2009). Authors such as Shah (2009) and Muller (2015) question the applicability of the concept particularly in developing countries of Africa and Asia. In their argument, the authors claim that attempts to implement the WFE nexus in developing countries impose prescriptions on resources use rather than promoting deliberate discovery of processes to manage the resources effectively and efficiently. Consequently, the success of these initiatives is slow and even sometimes regressed by poor acceptability by implementers and targeted users (Muller, 2015).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Research And Development (R&D): Activities directed towards products and processes improvements through innovation.

Water Pricing: The process of valorizing water through a public policy.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): These are global goals, which were agreed upon by UN member states in 2015 and whose focus is to eradicate poverty, protect the environment and safeguard socio-economic welfare.

Climate Change: A state of change in the characteristics of weather such as its precipitation and temperature over a prolonged period due to natural or manmade causes.

Eco-Hydrologist: An individual who specialises in understanding ecological and water interactions.

Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM): The practice that advocates for planned and collaborative development of land and water resources to optimise their productivity and improve socio-economic welfare sustainably without losing the integrity of essential ecosystems.

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