crop irrigation texas sunset

Irrigation in Texas. An example of where water and energy demands intersect. Photo credit: Texas A&M AgriLife Research/Kay Ledbetter (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) via Flickr

As well as providing a summary of existing methods and tools for analysis of the nexus, the paper discusses these approaches based on their main purposes. From this review, it is clear that the research on water-energy nexus has significantly increased in both the number of studies and the capacity of the scientific community to productively assess water and energy links at a higher resolution. At the same time, the review concludes that while many studies aim to develop new methods and frameworks to comprehensively assess interactions between water, energy and other elements, none can or do provide a singular framework for performing a “nexus study”.

Furthermore, many researchers are at the “understanding” stage, and emphasize quantitative analysis of the nexus. Fewer approaches are designed to support governance and implementation of technical solutions. This is considered to be a priority challenge for the scientific community if it aims to achieve greater impact on resource policy and management.

There is a clear need to improve our ability to classify and compare the capacities, strengths and weaknesses between existing approaches. This would better enable a wider group of stakeholders to use knowledge to more effectively manageme water and energy resources. It could also help focus the scientific community on improving the existing knowledge base and to increase focus on “governing” and “implementing” the nexus.