The water, energy and food systems (the WEF) of the planet are under strain, sometimes described as the “perfect storm”. They are all intrinsically linked and inter-dependent (the nexus), and humanity needs to plot a course to ensure sustainability and in an ideal world, equity of access to resources.

The WEFWEBs project will examine the data and evidence for the water, energy and food systems and their interactions and dependencies within the local, regional and national environment. We need to maintain a balance between the three sometimes opposing directions that our primary systems are moving in to ensure that we safeguard our ecosystems, while still being able to live sustainably, in a world where demands are increasing. To study these systems and their dependencies and interactions, we need to bring together a multitude of different disciplines from the physical, environmental computational and mathematical sciences, with economics, social science, psychology and policy. Each of the three systems needs to be studied through the data that exists concerning their flows, resources and impacts, but also through individual and civic understanding of the systems.

We will collect, synthesise and assimilate existing data, and models with new data that will be collected using new sensing technology and social media. We will examine each of the multiple dimensions of the nexus in three place based studies where we can explore and examine the outputs from data analysis, process and network models, and social perceptions.

This project delivers multiple dynamic WEF nexus maps with spatial level spanning the dimensions of the problem, reflecting current status and changes, and the interactions in the primary systems in space and time. There is currently no critically systemic, participatory, multi-stakeholder mapping of the entire multi-scale WEF nexus for the UK and this project offers innovation in terms of the multi-disciplinarity and variety of methods including systemic intervention, data analytics and crowd sourcing techniques to mapping the WEF nexus.

Ultimately, WEFWEBs will provide a better understanding to citizens and policy makers alike of the effects of choices and decisions to be made.

For more information on WEFWEBS please click on the image below;