Integrated modeling approach for optimal management of water, energy and food security nexus

Water, energy and food (WEF) are inextricably interrelated. Effective planning and management of limited WEF resources to meet current and future socioeconomic demands for sustainable development is challenging. WEF production/delivery may also produce environmental impacts; as a result, green-house-gas emission control will impact WEF nexus management as well. Nexus management for WEF security necessitates integrated tools for predictive analysis that are capable of identifying the tradeoffs among various sectors, generating cost-effective planning and management strategies and policies. To address these needs, we have developed an integrated model analysis framework and tool called WEFO. WEFO provides a multi-period socioeconomic model for predicting how to satisfy WEF demands based on model inputs representing productions costs, socioeconomic demands, and environmental controls. WEFO is applied to quantitatively analyze the interrelationships and trade-offs among system components including energy supply, electricity generation, water supply-demand, food production as well as mitigation of environmental impacts. WEFO is demonstrated to solve a hypothetical nexus management problem consistent with real-world management scenarios. Model parameters are analyzed using global sensitivity analysis and their effects on total system cost are quantified. The obtained results demonstrate how these types of analyses can be helpful for decision-makers and stakeholders to make cost-effective decisions for optimal WEF management.