A water-energy-food nexus perspective on the challenge of eutrophication

V. Ratna Reddy, Davi Gasparini Fernandes Cunha, Mathew Kurian

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


This paper attempts to understand and explore the problem of eutrophication in the context of agriculture with the help of a nexus perspective. Eutrophication is significantly linked to water and energy resources with theoretically well-defined trade-offs and threshold levels. While looking at the linkages between water and land resources comprehensively, our paper questions the present approach to designing and implementing watershed management, and analyses the effects of agricultural intensification, especially in dry regions. Eutrophication is the process by which excessive nutrient loads in water bodies lead to undesirable water-quality problems and the degradation of the overall aquatic ecosystem. Due to limited information and knowledge on water and soil quality in most countries, farmers continue to use fertilizers at an increasing rate and agricultural run-off has been carrying ever more nitrogen and phosphorus into water bodies. This is likely to become a vicious cycle of eutrophication affecting food and water security. Of late, soil- and water-conservation interventions, like watershed development, are further reducing run-off. It is argued that there is a need to rethink the assumptions under which watershed interventions are designed and implemented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 26 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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