PUBLISHED: 28 March 2016      Last Edited: 28 March 2016

Complexity of the Nexus in Alberta

Regardless of where it is applied, the Nexus concept is complex and shows the intricate nature of water management. As populations increase and demands for resources continue to grow, this concept of interconnectedness is integral to the way we manage demands and the risk of scarcity.
In the Bow River Basin, the Water-Energy-Food Nexus is fluid and ever-changing. The above diagram helps us to conceptualize the movement of water throughout the Bow River Basin from its source to end-use. The Bow River, which is central to this basin’s ecosystem, is allocated for uses in agriculture, municipalities, energy, and other uses or is protected to maintain aquatic ecosystem functions.
Understanding these different uses for water, one can begin to understand the complex relationship between water for food, energy, and people. How do decision-makers decide on the best use for our water? How do societies decide on the value of this resource? How do we decide on what’s worth it? These questions indicate a continued need for water management and for adaptation to become central in the way we manage our collective resources.
The Nexus concept does not provide a single answer or solution for water management; instead the Nexus concept provides a different way of thinking about resource management and a new conversation about water.