The term nexus describes the key interactions between parts of a system or systems. This POSTnote summarises current understanding of the interactions between water, energy and food production and examines how nexus approaches can be used to inform policy decisions.Jump to full report >>
Water, energy and food (WEF) systems interact with each other and the environment. For instance, food crops require energy for fertilisers, water for irrigation, and rely on environmental processes for cycling of nutrients and pollinating crops. Agricultural practices have also led to declines in pollinators and an excess of nutrients in the environment. The term nexus has been used to describe these interactions since the 1980s. It has become prominent in discussions of international resource policies and is the focus of UK research programmes. Exact definitions of the water, energy and food nexus differ, but all seek to describe interactions across and between relevant systems. Understanding the interactions between WEF systems can help decision makers balance trade-offs made between them, in response to increasing demand. This in turn could increase security in these sectors.
Key points in this POSTnote include:
POSTnotes are based on literature reviews and interviews with a range of stakeholders and are externally peer reviewed. POST would like to thank interviewees and peer reviewers for kindly giving up their time during the preparation of this briefing, including:
*Denotes people who acted as external reviewers of the briefing.
Author: Jonathan Wentworth
The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.