© Conceptual framework: Authors' adaptation of the water-energy-food nexus at the household level (Adapted from: Tan et al., 2018; Guta et al., 2015)
The water-energy-food (WEF) nexus debate has gained traction at various macro scales, with less sway at the micro (household level). Thus, this study sought to investigate the interrelationships between water, energy and food security at the household level, using the cases of Melani and Hamburg communities in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. A cross-sectional survey of 283 randomly selected households was conducted. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to analyze the data. The results indicated that most households in both communities were food and energy secure. Regarding water security, the results reveal that both communities were water insecure. Nexus estimate results revealed a positive association between food insecurity and water security, caused by food substitution and possible omission of meals as households try to balance the limited time required for the collection of adequate water from distant sources and cooking meals. A positive nexus between food insecurity and energy poverty was also noted, triggered by low energy and caused by the usage of expensive electric stoves at the expense of cheap additional measures of energy sources. With low energy, households were therefore forced to select food groups that do not require high energy (capable of compromising their dietary diversity) and possibly missed some meals in response to available energy. The study concludes that there are several non-linear synergies and trade-offs in the WEF nexus at household level worth understanding to ensure sustainability in the nexus.
Ningi, T., Taruvinga, A., Zhou, L., & Ngarava, S. Household water-energy-food security nexus: Empirical evidence from Hamburg and Melani communities in South Africa.
- Publication // Climate and Southern Africa's Water-Energy-Food Nexus
- Publication // Development of Water-Energy-Food Nexus Index and its Application to South Africa and the Southern African Development Community
- The Water–Energy–Food Security Nexus // Challenges and Opportunities for Food Security in South Africa