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Assessing the level of inter-sectoral policy integration for governance in the water–energy nexus: a comparative study of Los Angeles and Beijing

Interest in the water-energy nexus is growing, as are efforts to increase policy coordination between the sectors which manage each resource. This article uses case studies of Los Angeles and Beijing to explore how institutional contexts enable such coordination and proposes a framework for analysing the integration of the nexus.

Claudia Strambo / Published on 7 October 2020

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Citation

Sixt, G. N., Strambo, C., Zhang, J., Chow, N., Liu, J. and Han, G. (2020). Assessing the level of inter-sectoral policy integration for governance in the water–energy nexus: a comparative study of Los Angeles and Beijing. Sustainability, 12(17). 7220. DOI: 10.3390/su12177220

As concerns around water scarcity and energy security increase, so too has interest in the connections between these resources, through a concept called the water–energy nexus. Efforts to improve the integration of water and energy management and to understand their cross-sector relevance are growing.

In particular, this paper develops a better empirical understanding on the extent to which governance settings hinder and/or enable policy coherence between the water and energy sectors through a comparative analysis of two case studies, namely, Los Angeles County, California, the United States, and the city of Beijing, China. This paper examines the extent to which the institutional context enables policy coordination within (vertically) and between (horizontally) the water and energy sectors in Beijing and Los Angeles.

To do so, the authors propose a framework for analyzing policy integration for the water energy nexus based on environmental policy integration (EPI). The results highlight the multiple and flexible approaches of EPI in nexus governance, not least with regards to horizontal and vertical policy integration, but also in terms of explicit (i.e., intended) and implicit (i.e., unintended) coordination. The level of nexus-focused policy integration is highly dependent on the motivation at the local context and the criteria to evaluate policy success in each sector.

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SEI author

Claudia Strambo
Claudia Strambo

Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

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