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Water integrity in the food-energy-water (FEW) nexus: solutions for water resources in a changing world

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posted on 27.07.2021, 18:41 by Val Zayden SchullVal Zayden Schull

The Food-Energy-Water (FEW) nexus conceptualizes the interactions and tension between production and consumption of food, energy, and water. With increasing uncertainties due to climate change, there is a need to address these tensions within the nexus and better comprehend the existing interdependencies and tradeoffs. Water integrity – considering both water availability and quality – is of critical concern within the FEW nexus. Thus, it is important to develop robust decision-making strategies using a FEW nexus lens. This study focuses on addressing water integrity concerns through FEW nexus assessment using an agricultural watershed in northeastern Indiana, with predominantly corn-soybean rotations, as a pilot site. Historical and futuristic climate and hydrological data were used for hydrological modeling using SWAT to quantify water quantity, quality, and crop production. Scientific literature values for farm machinery fuel requirements and their carbon emissions were implemented to obtain values based on the implemented agronomic practices. Results of this study provide methodologies and information that can be implemented to evaluate water resources management, as well as inform policymaking for more sustainable agricultural management practices.

Funding

Collaborative Research: NRT-INFEWS: Sustainable Food, Energy, and Water Systems (SFEWS)

Directorate for Education & Human Resources

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USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch Project 1009404

History

Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Margaret W. Gitau

Additional Committee Member 2

Dennis C. Flanagan

Additional Committee Member 3

Shweta Singh

Additional Committee Member 4

Juan P. Sesmero