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divergent? What
implications do the past decades of conceptual development
around the
have for future resource use paradigms? How can the
nexus be used to address global-change challenges?
Early references in the published literature to the term
nexus approach
as cited in Google
Scholar arise in philosophy to refer to overlapping experience and physical objects
(Whitehead 1929 ), in the institutional literature to trace contractual relationships
among multiple, tiered
firms (Wigmore 1943 ), in cell biology to describe complex
electro-chemical interlinkages required for organ and tissue function (Dewey and
Barr 1962 ), in economics to characterize mutual dependencies of wages, prices and
labour productivity (Bodkin 1962 ), and subsequently in numerous additional dis-
ciplines. With speci
c reference to interlinked natural resource use practices, nexus
terminology appears to have begun in 1983 with the Food-Energy Nexus Pro-
gramme of the United Nations University (UNU), which sought to better under-
stand coupled food and energy challenges in developing countries paying particular
attention to technical and policy solutions (Sachs and Silk 1990 ). Food and energy
as crucial determinants of development (Batliwala 1982 ) were considered in their
broader environmental context; thus, at least two international conferences were
organized to develop and illustrate further the interlinkages among food (agricul-
ture, nutrition), energy (biomass, post-harvest
residues, animal
electricity) and ecosystems (land, forests, water). The
first of these conferences on
Food, Energy, and Ecosystems, was held in Brasilia, Brazil in 1984 (Alam 1988 ).
The Second International Symposium on the Food-Energy Nexus and Ecosystems
was held in New Delhi, India, February 12
14, 1986 (Parikh 1986 ). Modelling
approaches to address the food-energy nexus were also developed and published for
the UNU (Pimentel 1985 ).
In parallel fashion and approximately concurrently in the mid-1980s, but
apparently dissociated from the UNU-initiated programmes in developing coun-
tries, there was emerging recognition in the Western United States of the implicit
water-resource dimension of the nexus between energy (hydropower, thermoelec-
tric generation) and agriculture (food production, groundwater pumping). Solomon
( 1987 ) identi
ed land and water constraints to electrical power generation, while
Durant and Holmes ( 1985 ) recognized that water management in the Western U.S.
would increasingly have to account for energy and environmental needs for water,
in addition to the prevailing agricultural-irrigation and urban-industrial demands.
Although Ingram et al. ( 1984 ) did not undertake detailed analysis of resource
coupling that we currently understand as the basic plane of the nexus, their analysis
presented in Water Resources Research, intended to reach both technical and
managerial audiences, was prescient of the institutional dimensions of water
resource management in the Western U.S. Gleick ( 1994 ) provided an important
overview of water and energy linkages.
Explicit reference to the
so prevalent today appears to have
begun in the mid-to-late 1990s and early 2000s. Thus, Sant and Dixit ( 1996 )
addressed energy supply for groundwater pumping as part of a Water-Energy
Nexus project funded by International Energy Initiatives (in Bangalore, India),
water-energy nexus
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