event 27 Jan 2020

Publication // Decision-making and integrated assessment models of the water-energy-food nexus

By James Rising. Studying trade-offs in the long-term development of water-energy-food systems requires a new family of hydroeconomic optimization models. This article reviews the central considerations behind these models, highlighting the importance of water infrastructure, the foundations of a theory of decision-making, and the handling of uncertainty.

Rising james

Integrated assessment models (IAMs), used in climate change policy research, provide insights that can support this development. In particular, IAM approaches to intertemporal decision-making and economic valuation can improve existing models. At the same time, IAMs have weaknesses identified elsewhere and can benefit from the development of hydroeconomic models, which have complementary strengths.


  • Water-energy-food models have strengths that complement integrated assessment models.
  • Different families of models represent characteristic spatial and temporal scales.
  • A new family of hydroeconomic models are needed to address questions of long-term investment.


April 2020


Water Security, Volume 9, April 2020

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