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Climate Change

Climate and Southern Africa's Water-Energy-Food Nexus

By Declan Conway, Emma Archer van Garderen, Delphine Deryng, Steve Dorling, Tobias Krueger, Willem Landman, Bruce Lankford, Karen Lebek, Tim Osborn, Claudia Ringler, James Thurlow, Tingju Zhu and Carole Dalin. In southern Africa, the connections between climate and the water–energy–food nexus are strong. Physical and socioeconomic exposure to climate is high in many areas and in crucial economic sectors. Spatial interdependence is also high, driven, for example, by the regional extent of many climate anomalies and river basins and aquifers that span national boundaries. There is now strong evidence of the effects of individual climate anomalies, but associations between national rainfall and gross domestic product and crop production remain relatively weak.

The majority of climate models project decreases in annual precipitation for southern Africa, typically by as much as 20% by the 2080s. Impact models suggest these changes would propagate into reduced water availability and crop yields. Recognition of spatial and sectoral interdependencies should inform policies, institutions and investments for enhancing water, energy and food security. Three key political and economic instruments could be strengthened for this purpose: the Southern African Development Community, the Southern African Power Pool and trade of agricultural products amounting to significant transfers of embedded water.


Nature website




Nature Climate Change volume 5, pages 837–846 (2015)

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Research Papers, Publications and Books

The Global Food-Energy-Water Nexus

By Paolo D'Odorico, Kyle Frankel Davis, Lorenzo Rosa, Joel A. Carr, Davide Chiarelli, Jampel Dell'Angelo, Jessica Gephart, Graham K. MacDonald, David A. Seekell, Samir Suweis, Maria Cristina Rulli. Water availability is a major factor constraining humanity's ability to meet the future food and energy needs of a growing and increasingly affluent human population. Water plays an important role in the production of energy, including renewable energy sources and the extraction of unconventional...

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Nexus Project Bolivia // Working together to develop the water, energy and food security sectors

The contradictory development objectives for water, energy and food security in Bolivia generate conflicts of interest between ministries, and also between authorities and institutions in the provinces and municipalities: each institution wants to support especially its sector, be it water, energy or rural. For this reason, planning is needed that transcends different sectors, such as that sought by governments at the national and local levels.

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