The demand for water, energy, and food (WEF) is increasing with a growing population and a larger proportion of people living high hydrocarbon dependent lifestyles. This is placing unprecedented pressure on global WEF resources, a situation that will be exacerbated with a shifting climate. To meet this demand and to ensure long-term WEF security there is a need for integrated, efficient, and sustainable resources management across the sectors. This is essential to enhance and maintain quality of life, and requires the overall system to adapt over appropriate timescales. Analogous to the human immune system, resilience can be enhanced by learning from shocks to the WEF nexus that lead to recovery and adaptation through improving the systems long-term memory. Through shocks to the system (vaccination in this analogy), society is provided the opportunity to improve resilience and sustainable management of the WEF sectors. In this context, shocks are represented by: 1) historic events, 2) controlled experimental manipulation, and 3) defined inputs to models. This project will identify the interconnections between Water Energy and Food (WEF) through the development of an integrated framework and will reveal the vulnerabilities in the system and the diverse connections between the three facets of the nexus. The project consists of three work packages (WPs) that cover a diverse array of scenarios for both aquatic and terrestrial systems integrated with a social science and economic modelling. In WP1 the response of aquatic food organisms to the shock of delivering the water and energy infrastructure plan will be investigated, culminating in the development of planning decision support tools based on integrated hydrodynamic and agent based models. WP2 will take an experimental, field based, and modelling approach to investigate the response of agriculture (focusing on soils and crops) to flooding under alternative climate change scenarios and based on historic data. The social aspects of shifting agricultural regimes, e.g. greater use of bioenergy crops in areas liable to flooding, will be investigated and quantified. WP3 will provide the social and economic modelling that will gather and analyse data obtained from the case studies and provide feedback to improve the models. Further, WP3 will investigate potential barriers to dissemination and uptake of the results within institutions and by end users that may benefit with the view to develop approaches that ameliorate for this. This work package is also dedicated to ensuring delivery of impact which will be enabled through close collaboration with several non-academic partners including industry. Delivery of the project will be managed by a team with diverse interdisciplinary expertise (including engineers, ecologists, agriculturalists, mathematicians, and social scientists) from the Universities of Southampton, Bath, London, Nottingham, Aberystwyth University, Loughborough University, University College London, HR Wallingford, and supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council. The team has a proven track record in project management, and strong links to industrial partners and other end users. The project will benefit industry, regulators, government, academia and the general public. The findings will be disseminated to: the academic community through publication of high impact research articles; the public through engagement via national and local media and internet and social networking platforms, and a structured Outreach programme involving schools and local science exhibitions; government through political outreach; and key stakeholders via relevant publications and participation in steering group workshops. The outputs will enable regulators to improve guidelines and to streamline the decision making processes for the benefit of industry and the nation as a whole.
Total awarded amount £1581410