This paper attempts to understand the current status of research on the water-energy-food nexus, with the hypothesis that to date the research in this area has been somewhat fragmented. Although there were more than 53,000 hits recorded during a Google search of the phrase ‘water-energy-food nexus’ (as of June 2014), there is no clear definition of the term ‘nexus’. Unlike biodiversity conservation or climate change research and policies led by specific United Nations Conventions, the nexus has yet to be officially facilitated, implemented, and acknowledged in a uniform way. In addition, the relationships of all three resources such as water–energy, water–food and/or water–energy–food are interrelated and interdependent, which implies that the complexity of the nexus system has not yet been clarified. Furthermore, there seems to be very few reviews on the nexus, as the concept consists of multiple disciplines, as well as interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research results.
The paper is part of the special issue of the Journal of Hydrology.