Energy-Water-Food Nexus

Sufficient and secure supplies of energy, water and food are required to support the basic functioning of society and help promote resilient, sustainable development. These resource needs are becoming increasingly interdependent in the face of population growth, climate change, changing consumption patterns and urbanization. Informed planning for future development requires a sophisticated understanding of the complex interrelationships between the energy, water and food sectors. While competing demands for resources poses challenges, they also create opportunities for integrated solutions. The energy-water-food nexus resources help identify solutions that consider collective impacts and provide tools and strategies to promote sustainable development outcomes.

On these pages, the topics of energy, water and food are represented as "sectors". Each sector considers the interrelationship between energy, water and food using an “input model”. For example, the land/food sector presents how energy and water are inputs to the land/food sector. The integrated approaches topic considers the interrelationship of all three sectors.

Energy Sector

The topic of energy includes energy sources in the built environment, electricity and thermal energy, and transportation sectors as well as industry impacts from energy use. Each subtopic is categorized by the competing demands for water and land/food resources associated with each energy source. The topic also emphasizes policies, standards and best practices for each energy source that relates to water and land/food resources. Learn more.

Food Sector

The topic of food refers to both food and land resources. It includes fertilizers and pesticides, food production and industry impacts associated with the land/food sector. Each subtopic is categorized by the competing demands for water and energy resources. The topic also emphasizes policies, standards and best practices for land/food as they relate to water and energy resources. Learn more.

Water Sector

The topic of water is broken into major use categories, including source water, drinking water, wastewater and reuse, and it considers industry impacts from water use. Each subtopic is categorized by the competing demands for energy and land/food resources associated with each water source. The topic also emphasizes policies, standards and best practices for each water source that relates to energy and land/food resources. Learn more.

Integrated Approaches

The integrated approaches topic considers actions that effect all three sectors of the energy-water-food nexus. This section presents an integrated perspective on models and tools, polices and plans, resource security and technology solutions that facilitate nexus thinking or problem solving in support of sustainable development. Using an integrated approach ensures the interests of each sector are fairly represented and that no sector is short-changed in development decisions. Learn more.