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Food-Energy-Water Nexus

The ‘Food-Energy-Water Nexus’ has become a buzzword in sustainability circles as we increasingly recognise the need to view these three fundamental aspects of civilization as interconnected.
At school, children are taught about simple food chains and how removing even a seemingly unimportant species has knock-on effects. The concept of the nexus is similar. It recognises that the provision and consumption of food, energy and water are inextricably interlinked. For example, if fuel prices increase, food prices may follow suit. Or, if the extraction of certain fuel sources pollutes ground water, the availability of freshwater and potential food production are affected.

Addressing the challenges facing these three important aspects in isolation is short-sighted and often counter-productive. Food, energy and water security are all vital for a sustainable future and approaching them as a nexus is essential in achieving this.

WWF-SA, with funding from the British High Commission, have embarked on a body of work aimed at developing a better understanding of the complex relationship between food, energy and water in South Africa.

Through research comprising commissioned studies and workshop consultation with policy makers, food producers and marketers, water utilities and users, and energy producers and consumers, the Food-Energy-Water Nexus project aims to build the case for an integrated policy approach to the nexus. The project hopes to influence changes in business models related to the food supply chain to bring about more efficient use of energy and water, and sustainable use of these resources in food production.

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Defining 'Nexus'

  • nex•us
    ˈneksəs/
    noun
    noun: nexus; plural noun: nexus; plural noun: nexuses
    definition: a connection or series of connections linking two or more things.