Abstract

Water, energy, and food are primary resources on which human life is dependent. This paper presents a review of the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus considering the environmental impacts generated by humans' reliance on water, energy, and food for their subsistence. Our review assesses the WEF with respect to the agricultural, industrial, and urban sectors and their use of water, energy, and food. The multi-sectorial assessment addresses options for improved management that avoids or mitigates adverse impacts in the agricultural, industrial, and urban sectors. Activities such as the use of fertilizers and pesticides in the agricultural sector, for instance, cause water, air, and soil pollution, which leads to social calamities and environmental degradation. Therefore, examining the effects of mismanagement in one sector on other sectors from the perspective of the WEF nexus is necessary for improved resource management and environmental protection. A literature review revealed that factors or practices of resources use influence sectors differently and with varying degrees of effectiveness in reducing the environmental damage caused by resources use. Improved social awareness on resource consumption, the use of renewable energy, improved energy efficiency, the reduction of food waste, improved animal husbandry, and other factors involved in the WEF nexus are herein examined. This paper's analysis demonstrates that every action and manner of resource use in one sector affects other sectors and their resources use, also, thus calling for a unified analysis of the WE nexus.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Demonstrating that every action and manner of resource use in one sector affects other sectors and their resources use, as well, thus calling for a unified analysis of the WE nexus.

  • Covering a variety of topics pertinent to the WEF nexus and the environment.

  • Assessing the environmental impacts of resource consumption in the agricultural, industrial, and urban sectors.

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