Untangling the water-food-energy-environment nexus for global change adaptation in a complex Himalayan water resource system

Andrea Momblanch, Lamprini Papadimitriou, Sanjay K. Jain, Anil Kulkarni, Chandra S. P. Ojha, Adebayo J. Adeloye, Ian P. Holman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)
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Holistic water management approaches are essential under future climate and socio-economic changes, especially while trying to achieve inter-disciplinary societal goals such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of clean water, hunger eradication, clean energy and life on land. Assessing water resources within a water-food-energy-environment nexus approach enables the relationships between water-related sectors to be untangled while incorporating impacts of societal changes. We use a systems modelling approach to explore global change impacts on the nexus in the mid-21st century in a complex western Himalayan water resource system in India, considering a range of climate change and alternative socio-economic development scenarios. Results show that future socio-economic changes will have a much stronger impact on the nexus compared to climate change. Hydropower generation and environmental protection represent the major opportunities and limitations for adaptation in the studied system and should, thereby, be the focus for actions and systemic transformations in pursue of the SDGs. The emergence of scenario-specific synergies and trade-offs between nexus component indicators demonstrates the benefits that water resource systems models can make to designing better responses to the complex nexus challenges associated with future global change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-47
Number of pages13
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date8 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2019


  • Climate change
  • Nexus
  • Socio-economic change
  • Synergies and trade-offs
  • Systems modelling
  • WEAP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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