Session 3.8: Integrated Modelling and Management of Water Resources: the Ecosystem Perspective on the Nexus Approach
Integrated natural resources management has in recent years been promoted mainly under the term “Nexus Approach”, sharing many aspects with Integrated Water Resources Management, but putting more emphasis on integrating sectors and having a balanced view on interrelated resources. Models to simulate and forecast the pools, fluxes and status (quality) of environmental resources exist, while new modelling frameworks, partly building on available models, are emerging, highlighting the interfaces, interactions and fluxes between resources (e.g. soil-water), systems (e.g. pedosphere-atmosphere) and sectors (e.g. water, energy, food). Currently, there are a few applications explicitly designed for nexus analyses, either as stand-alone tool or as combination of
available “sector” models, e.g. water, energy and crop growth. Resources (e.g. water) quality or other ecosystem features and aspects are, however, typically not or only marginally considered.
In the field of (aquatic) ecosystem sciences the use of complex, “integrated”, models is common. Mostly designed as scientific tools to analyse food web interactions and impacts of external drivers on water quantity and quality, they are often also applied for scenario analysis and aiding management decisions. So far, however, they are not typically referred to as nexus tools.
Overall, there seems to be a disconnect between the “ecosystem modellers” and the “nexus modellers”. Could sustainable resources management and integrated modelling approaches benefit from a closer linkage?