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Decision Support for Water Stressed FEW Nexus Decisions (DS-WSND)

This project addresses: 1) integrated and coordinated domain modeling use in FEW Nexus tradeoff analysis, and 2) decision support modeling and optimization regarding improvements in FEW Nexus decision making, both in water scarce areas. The project employs case studies encompassing the San Antonio and Los Angeles\San Diego regions. Project activities examine mechanisms to improve food, energy and water systems joint management using domain bias free modeling approaches. Such modeling is designed to consider and evaluate alternative policy, management, and technology strategies across domain boundaries. The modeling system represents and informs water development, technology, conservation, policy, implementation, and incentive-design.

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Abstract:

Society depends on food, energy, and water (FEW) availability. It has become increasingly apparent, however, that actions focusing on any one of these resources also affect the other two. Consequently, favorable actions for one resource may result in unintended outcomes for the others thus raising concerns over their interaction or Nexus. A situation for which FEW Nexus decision making is critical occurs especially in arid/semiarid regions experiencing rapid growth such as the US Southwest, Egypt, Pakistan, and India. While these regions face severe water shortages, they often rely on irrigated food production, energy production, transfers of large amounts of water using substantial energy and aquifer depletion. Improved management of the arid-region FEW systems that anticipate and prepares for increasing pressures on resource availability and population-associated demand growth requires an improved understanding of the intricate connections between FEW resource decisions — their Nexus. For arid communities, typical possibilities under consideration include conservation across agriculture, municipalities, and energy producers; use of recycled or saline water; and water transfers. This project will analyze the potential improvements arising from FEW Nexus-aware decision utilizing case studies encompassing the San Antonio and Los Angeles/San Diego regions. Additionally, the project will develop analytical systems for Nexus decision evaluation within and outside these case study settings. A multidisciplinary team of hydrologists, economists, energy engineers, water engineers, agricultural experts and outreach specialists works on the project. The team both: (i) interacts with a broad spectrum of regional FEW decision makers regarding Nexus analyses and enhancement of the usefulness and implementation of the modeling system presented, and (ii) trains graduate students and postdocs in FEW Nexus system research.

This project addresses: 1) integrated and coordinated domain modeling use in FEW Nexus tradeoff analysis, and 2) decision support modeling and optimization regarding improvements in FEW Nexus decision making, both in water scarce areas. The project employs case studies encompassing the San Antonio and Los Angeles\San Diego regions. Project activities examine mechanisms to improve food, energy and water systems joint management using domain bias free modeling approaches. Such modeling is designed to consider and evaluate alternative policy, management, and technology strategies across domain boundaries. The modeling system represents and informs water development, technology, conservation, policy, implementation, and incentive-design. Core components include data storage and retrieval systems, coupled with FEW domain models, an integrative multiple objective model, and a highly visualized stakeholder interaction and tradeoff analysis system. The project: 1) integrates data and analyses from agricultural, hydrologic and energy system domain models within an overall systems framework that is embodied in a multi objective, risk aware model designed to address decision-maker preferences, strategy choices, consequences and trade-offs; 2) uses the integrated systems framework to assess the added economic, social, and environmental values that can be attained using Nexus-wide, coordinated decision making versus sectoral focused choices; 3) evaluates how climate change and increasing urban populations stress the case study FEW systems, and Nexus decisions; 4) identifies economic, environmental, and income distributional tradeoffs and possible incentive approaches to compensate potential losers so they cooperate in Nexus strategy implementation; and 5) facilitates coordination and communication between stakeholders and project personnel in an effort to enhance awareness of FEW Nexus decision making and develop relevant decision support tools for the locations of the case study and other settings.

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Articles produced by this research:

Stephan, Raya Marina and Mohtar, Rabi H. and Daher, Bassel and Embid Irujo, Antonio and Hillers, Astrid and Ganter, J. Carl and Karlberg, Louise and Martin, Liber and Nairizi, Saeed and Rodriguez, Diego J. and Sarni, Will. “Water-energy-food nexus: a platform for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals,” Water International, v.43, 2018. doi:10.1080/02508060.2018.1446581

Daher, Bassel and Mohtar, Rabi and Pistikopoulos, Efstratios and Portney, Kent and Kaiser, Ronald and Saad, Walid. “Developing Socio-Techno-Economic-Political (STEP) Solutions for Addressing Resource Nexus Hotspots,” Sustainability, v.10, 2018. doi:10.3390/su10020512