Water-Food-Energy Nexus In India
energyⁿ manager|July - September 2019
In these times of agriculture crisis and falling water tables, it is important to rework policies to better address key challenges in the irrigation-power space, argues this article reproduced from TERI.
Prakriti Prajapati

Food and water are deeply linked, and together Fwith energy, have ensured continued existence of humans and ecosystems on Earth for millennia. There are several embedded intimate links within socioecological systems such as agricultural production systems that characterise the nexus between water, energy and food.

The nexus concept

Nexus thinking is born out of the idea that there are, in effect, 'no externalities'. An externality is the cost or benefit that affects a party that did not choose to incur it (Buchanan and Stubblebine 1962). Internalisation of the implications of and interactions with other life-supporting resources that had hitherto been externalised in policy and practice related to a particular resource is the essential challenge of the nexus. Taking forward from the Millennium Development Goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 underscore the global community's awakening to interdisciplinary solutions, sustainability and equity.

The idea of the food-water-energy nexus first gained attention in 1983 within the Food-Energy Nexus Programme at United Nations University. The programme examined food-energy challenges in developing countries, stressing on technology and policy solutions (Sachs and Silk 1990). The pursuit of environmentally sustainable economic growth puts immense stress on depleting natural resources in developing countries. This presents a more complex problem than industrialised nations as 'developed' countries by virtue of their stage of economic development undergo less rapid economic and population growth.

The Indian case

In India, the Green Revolution of the 1960s helped ensure food security for the starving millions. However, the economics of crop pricing and markets associated with the Green Revolution had damaging and far-reaching consequences on the country's water, energy and land resources.

Modern agriculture, especially in India, has to contend with falling water tables and efficiency in water usage.

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