The Water-Agriculture Nexus Issue

The Magic Nexus team

In this latest publication we tackle governance of the nexus with a focus on water use in agriculture. An overarching theme is that of complexity– one cannot talk about comprehensive and robust agricultural policy without addressing the complexities involved -– including the need to take into consideration multiple factors at different scales, and the uncertainties involved in  administering any given solution to water scarcity challenges.  

In the first article, Violeta Cabello & Ansel Renner from the UAB in Barcelona look at indicators in agricultural water use, explaining why the current monitoring framework in the EU is insufficient to properly understand the links between agriculture and water resource use in Europe.

In our second article, David Romero Manrique from The Joint Research Centre in Italy uses the analogy of the mythological hydra monster to explain the paradoxes inherent in water scarcity governance in the Canary Islands - that is, that without first defining the problems, the wrong solutions can create even worse 'hydra head' problems.

Tackling related issues in the Canary Islands, we summarize the findings of a recent publication from the MAGIC project by Serrano-Tovar and colleagues who use a desalination case study to better understand water scarcity issues in agriculture – their results show that governance solutions are far from simple and require a comprehensive analysis of the multifaceted and complex multi-scalar components involved.

Finally, from our MAGIC team at the University of Twente, Joep Schyns and Arjen Hoekstra define different types of efficiency in agricultural water use, explaining that we need to pay more attention to the consumption angle for policy to really be effective in this area.