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The water-food-energy nexus

Ten Priorities. One Future.

By 2050, the world will need to grow and process 70% more food in order to feed a global population of nine billion1. Agriculture accounts for 70% of freshwater consumption today and by 2030 demand for water is predicted to outstrip supply by approximately 40%2. In a world with a finite amount of land and water and a changing climate, it's clear that businesses must adapt, and soon.

Water, food and energy are interconnected. We need water to grow food and to generate energy; we need energy to grow food and to treat and move water; and we need land (and in the case of biofuels, crops) for energy production. We cannot manage these three resources in isolation as the availability of each affects the availability of the others. This interconnectedness is often called the water-food-energy nexus.


  • 1World Bank, Global Economic Prospect, 2010: Fiscal Headwinds and Recovery,2010
  • 2McKinsey and Company, Charting our Water Future, 2009

Water Futures Report: Beyond 2012

The report highlights the latest achievements of the Water Futures Partnership and explains its plans for the future.

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Front page of the Water Futures Report: Beyond 2012

Water + Food + Energy. What is the Resource Nexus?

1 February 2013

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Andy Wales