Water, energy and food are essential resources for economic development and social well-being. Framing integrated policies that improve their efficient use requires understanding the interdependencies in the water–energy–food (WEF) nexus. Stakeholder involvement in this process is crucial to represent multiple perspectives, ensure political legitimacy and promote dialogue. In this research, we develop and apply a participatory modelling approach to identify the main interlinkages within the WEF nexus in Andalusia, as a starting point to developing a system dynamic model at a later stage. The application of fuzzy cognitive mapping enabled us to gain knowledge on the WEF nexus according to opinions from 14 decision-makers, as well as contributing to raising awareness and building consensus among stakeholders. Results show that climate change and water availability are key drivers in the WEF nexus in Andalusia. Other variables with significant interlinkages within the WEF nexus are food production, irrigated agriculture, energy cost, socio-economic factors, irrigation water use, environmental conservation, and farm performance indicators. The scenario analysis reveals the interdependencies among nexus sectors and the existence of unanticipated effects when changing variables in the system, which need to be considered to design integrated policies.
Water — Open Access Journal: Water is an open access journal on water science and technology, including the ecology and management of water resources, and is published monthly online by MDPI.
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