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Volume 376
Proc. IAHS, 376, 9-13, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/piahs-376-9-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Proc. IAHS, 376, 9-13, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/piahs-376-9-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  01 Feb 2018

01 Feb 2018

The water–food–energy nexus in Pakistan: a biophysical and socio-economic challenge

Nicola Grigg1, Tira Foran1, Toni Darbas2, Mac Kirby1, Matthew J. Colloff3, Mobin-ud-Din Ahmad1, and Geoff Podger1 Nicola Grigg et al.
  • 1CSIRO Land and Water, ACT 2600 Canberra, Australia
  • 2CSIRO Land and Water, Brisbane, 4001 Queensland, Australia
  • 3Fenner School of Environment & Society, Australian National University, ACT 2601 Canberra, Australia

Abstract. We draw on previous work examining historical trends, likely future water use and food availability in Pakistan and extend the analysis to consider interactions with hydropower generation and the energy demand in food production due to pumping of groundwater for irrigation. Business-as-usual scenarios suggest growing demands for groundwater and energy use for food production as population grows rapidly. However, groundwater use is already unsustainable in many areas, and energy supply is failing to keep up with demand. Quantifying material linkages between water, food and energy provides a means to explore biophysical constraints. Characterising institutional constraints is equally important, as they can be significant barriers to effective stewardship of water, energy and food resources. The experience in Pakistan reinforces this finding, and we discuss the implications for hydrologists.

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We draw on previous work examining likely future water use and food availability in Pakistan and extend the analysis to consider hydropower generation and energy demand in food production. The biophysical limits of the water-energy-food nexus are just one piece of the picture. We also draw on critical social science and resilience or adaptation-oriented perspectives to consider options usually deemed out of scope for biophysical scientists or water, energy and agricultural authorities.
We draw on previous work examining likely future water use and food availability in Pakistan and...
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