Mr Thulani Ningi

Level of Study: 
Agriculture Economics
Welfare implications of the water-energy-food nexus at household level: A perspective on livelihoods

Water-energy-food nexus thinking which is based on a systems approach has gained recognition within the scientific community and among policymakers at global and national levels. The Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus is a framework that captures the inter-relations, synergies, and trade-offs between the demand on water, energy, and food, in the context of the emerging constraints of sustainable development in particular regions or systems. For example, the increase in food, energy, water prices and inflation have clearly highlighted the interconnection of the three components in South Africa. Addressing one domain in isolation may significantly affect another in terms of financial, natural, and social sustainability. WEF Nexus research has so far remained weak in identifying how the Nexus is inter-linked with livelihoods. Recently, Hussien et al, (2018) stated that, to date there is limited effort to investigate the impact of water-energy-food nexus on household’s income, food security, and agricultural productivity. Given the interdependence of water, energy, and food at household level in rural areas understanding the welfare implications of the nexus becomes critical for the long- term development and wellbeing of South African rural communities. This review paper explores ways in which integrating WEF thinking into development planning, implementation and management can support more equitable sustainable development outcomes at the household level.