The 'nexus' as a step back towards a more coherent water resource management paradigm

Mike Muller
Wits University Graduate School of Public and Development Management, Johannesburg, South Africa; mikemuller1949@gmail.com

Abstract: The interrelationships between water resources, food production and energy security have influenced policy for many decades so the emergence of the water-food-energy “nexus” as a proposed new focus for water resources management is surprising. This focus is suggested to be understood as a consequence of the decision by developed countries to ignore agreements reached at the 1992 Rio Summit on Sustainable Development and promote instead a “Dublin IWRM”, their original lobbying platform. That approach has not helped developing countries to address food, energy and water security nor assisted global businesses to expand or to manage the risks posed to their operations by poor water management. The nexus approach begins to address these concerns by focusing on a specific “problem-shed”. While this may disintegrate the original robust concept of integrated water management, its emphasis on what water may do for society rather than what society should do for water is a step back toward a more coherent and useful paradigm.

Keywords: Water resources management, food security, energy security, political economy analysis, environmental policy