Graduate Project


Understanding Institutional Barriers and Opportunities to Food-Water-Energy Nexus policy implementation in Oregon Public Deposited

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  • The interdependences among water, energy and food, are diverse and multidimensional and are referred to as the food-water-energy (FWE) nexus. This nexus approach seeks to understand the complex interactions among these sectors, in order to identify synergies and trade-offs that could serve as the basis for developing effective planning and sustainability strategies. Agriculture, water and energy play a crucial role in Oregon’s economy. However, with climate change posing an increasing threat to natural resources, the potential for conflict among the different water users is high. Given this need it is important to utilize the FWE nexus approach to create synergies for sustainable management of resources. Nevertheless, for the nexus approach to succeed it is necessary that conventional policy and decision-making, which often takes place in ‘silos’, be modified and expanded to enhance synergies across the three sectors. Given this need, this research utilized the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework to understand institutional barriers and opportunities in the policy- and decision-making process that stand in the way of implementing the water-energy-food nexus approach in Oregon. For this study policy document analysis and interviews with key decision-makers in Oregon were conducted. Results indicated that agriculture, water and energy policies are designed in ’silos” that create barriers, such as a lack of institutional coordination, funding limitations, and competing government priorities which impede nexus implementation. However, there are opportunities, such as conservation projects, that intrinsically promote the nexus approach and foster collaboration among agencies and public participation in the policy process. Such efforts could help on the implementation of the nexus in the future.
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