Urban Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus Project

With ongoing economic growth, demand for natural resources such as water, energy and food continue to rise worldwide, especially in cities. The result is serious environmental damage and climate change. Integrated urban planning to leverage on potential synergies of climate change mitigation and adaptation approaches urgently needs to be developed and implemented by 2030 for more effective climate action and to avert disastrous climatic consequences.

The Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus approach is one way for cities to devise more sustainable development pathways. The approach advocates that supplying water to cities takes much energy, and that much water is also needed to produce energy and food. Planning these three sectors in an integrated manner may enable better water, energy and food security and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Water reclamation and reuse is a key synergy opportunity for the operationalization of the WEF Nexus approach. However, so far, few examples exist where the WEF Nexus approach with water reclamation and reuse as a key element has been implemented at the neighbourhood scale. More pilot projects are needed in order to test the viability of this approach.

The aim of the Urban WEF Nexus Project is to study the interaction between the sectors water, energy and food and devise alternative future urban development scenarios to support the development of pilot projects at neighbourhood scale. The project takes Leh Town, the capital of Ladakh, a semi-arid high-altitude region in the Indian Himalayas, and other cities in Germany, India, and Ghana as case studies.

For more information, please visit the project documentary Nexus Film (2015): "If not now, when? Planning for the urban Water-Energy-Food Nexus" Duration: 18 minutes Link: https://vimeo.com/142941443 Password: wefnexusleh.  Also available on: https://cityvis.io/project.php?id=17. Golden Palm awarded at Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival (2016): http://kleff.my/film/planning-urban-energy/ 


Project activities

The 4th International Urban WEF Nexus Workshop will take place at TUM on 23rd November 2018.

On 16th May 2018, the project was presented at IFAT in a talk by Dr. Daphne Gondhalekar. For more information, please visit: https://www.germanwaterpartnership.de/informationen/messen-reisen-und-events/ifat-2018/index.htm 

The 3rd International Urban WEF Nexus Workshop was held on 11th January 2018 at TUM, which brought together around 20 international researchers collaborating on the funding proposal „OurWater2030“ to the EU Horizon 2020 and Government of India co-funded call „EU-India water cooperation". The proposal was submitted in February 2018.

The 2nd Urban WEF Nexus Workshop was held on 4th October 2017 at German House, Delhi, India, preceded by a networking dinner at Lalit Hotel on 3rd October. The aim of the workshop was to discuss with city representatives on the development of an Urban WEF Nexus pilot project and a joint funding proposal. The workshop was funded by the Bavarian State Ministry of Environment and Consumer Protection and the by TUM Global Incentive Fund and IGCS in cooperation with DAAD. For more information please visit http://water-future.org/news/2ndworkshop-report-india

On 29th September 2017, the project held a stakeholder workshop in Leh, Ladakh, India, to update on project findings and discuss development and implementation of a WEF Nexus pilot project in a neighbourhood of Leh.

On 31st July to 1st August 2017, Water Future Programme of Future Earth organized a workshop “Water Challenges and Solutions in India, with focus on Urban Water: Water Solutions Lab”, hosted by the Divecha Centre for Climate Change, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, India. Dr. Gondhalekar gave an invited talk about the Urban WEF Nexus project. The workshop aimed to develop and co-design a Water Solution Lab process in Bangalore together with participants from IISc and other national and international partners, to identify strategic and design elements of the assessment process behind the lab, and identify steps leading to its establishment. For more information please visit http://water-future.org/news/workshop-report-bangalore 

On 19th July 2017, Dr. Gondhalekar gave an invited talk „Towards the Nexus City: Closing the Water, Energy and Food Loops in Cities for Synergystic Climate Action“ at the „Seventh Regional Workshop on Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: the Urban Nexus”, in Tanjungpinang, Indonesia, hosted by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). For more information please visit http://www.unescap.org/events/seventh-regional-workshop-integrated-resource-management-asian-cities-urban-nexus 

On 25th March 2017, Dr. Gondhalekar presented the Urban WEF Nexus project at the Green Ladakh Festival in Leh, Ladakh, India, hosted by His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche, as a part of the delegation of Hon. Ms. Scharf, Bavarian Environment Minister.

The 1st International Urban WEF Nexus workshop was held on 15th-17th March 2017, hosted and co-organized by the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT), Chennai and the Water Future Programme of Future Earth. The workshop aimed to bring together researchers from TUM, IGCS, and other key academic and industry partners in India and Germany. Around 20 researchers and practitioners from a range of organizations actively participated and held input talks as a basis for discussion. A WEF Nexus core group was formed with the aim of the collaboration being the modelling, implementation and monitoring of a WEF Nexus pilot project in India. The workshop was funded by TUM Global Incentive Fund and IGCS in cooperation with DAAD. For more information please visit http://www.igcs-chennai.org/water-energy-food-nexus-workshop-at-igcs-iitm-15-17-march-2017/ 

Project Leader
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg E. Drewes'
Researcher Dr. Daphne Keilmann-Gondhalekar
Researcher Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Umwelt und Verbraucherschutz