event 31 Aug 2018 time 09:00

Session at RGS 2018 // Adaptive Management and Governance of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

Water Resources East (WRE) is pioneering a long-term multi-sector water resources strategy for the East of England to provide a sustainable supply of water to the region for the future, for all water users, which is resilient to the effects of climate change, population growth and drought.

category Sessions, Panels and Side Events tag Governance tag Governance of the Nexus
Logo royal geographical society rgs ibg

The region is predicted to have accelerated growth over the coming decades, which will have a significant contribution nationally, increasing the need for water, energy and food. Vulnerability analysis shows that by 2060, the region will face challenges from climate change and growth in population, impacting the environment, public water supply, agriculture and energy sectors. There are major opportunities in the region for future economic growth, food security and environmental enhancement, provided water is managed using an integrated approach.

The WRE strategy has been developed through multi-sector robust decision-making, and will increase resilience, deliver economic growth and protect the environment. The strategy highlights the need to implement the regional strategy at a catchment scale in order to maximise benefits across the public water supply, agricultural, energy and environment sectors. Implementing catchment-level interventions requires a change in governance, which is being developed through work with the South Lincolnshire Water Partnership (SLWP), a WRE stakeholder group developing an integrated water resources management plan in South Lincolnshire.

The WRE project offers an innovative approach to managing water, and the strategy will support sustainable water supplies for people, farming, energy and the environment. The strategy reflects the ‘adaptive planning’ approach of many water companies.


  • Sally J. Watson, Mott MacDonald

Chair: Kirsty Blackstock, James Hutton Institute, UK

About this Session

The concept of the food-energy-water-environment nexus has been in vogue since being identified as part of the ‘perfect storm’ of drivers on society by the UN in 2011. It has become a narrative to try to capture and explain the systemic nature of global wicked problems; and also to provide innovative solution to these wicked problems. For some, it is an invitation to grapple with the persistence of complex socio-ecological challenges and offer a site for transformation in our relationship to the material landscapes. For others, it remains a technical challenge to be resolved through optimisation of resource use in any given landscape. As social scientists, we are interested in how institutions, governance and management lie at the heart of either approach to the nexus in specific places and spaces.

The session "Adaptive management and governance of the food-energy-water-environment Nexus (1): Speed Talks" at the Annual Conference 2018 of the Royal Geographical Society involves contributions from those involved in Water-Energy-Food nexus research or those trying to manage or govern the nexus in practice, asking them to reflect on the following questions:

  • To what extent can the nexus be managed or governed?
  • To what extent does adopting a nexus perspective improve the governance of social-ecological systems?
  • Has the narrative of the nexus simulated innovative approaches or do the same fundamental governance and management challenges apply?
  • Are there new actors or sites for action emerging from taking a nexus lens?
  • Are new methodologies emerging from taking a nexus lens?
  • What can we learn from other governance and management domains; and what can nexus scholarship offer to others?

This session will consist of grouped speed talks followed by small group discussions with the presenters. The sister session Adaptive management and governance of the food-energy-water-environment Nexus (2) will involve a workshop based around a rapid synthesis of the main points.

Where and when

Part of Session "Adaptive management and governance of the food-energy-water-environment Nexus (1): Speed Talks"

31 Aug 2018

Glamorgan Building
Seminar Room -1.80

More information


Tina Schmiers


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