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Research Integrated Research on Energy, Environment and Society | IREES Research

The Water-Energy-Food-Nexus and Sustainable Development in South Africa l Thomas van Huyssteen

decorative imageThomas van Huyssteen
Thomas van Huyssteen

Field l Discipline

  • Water-Energy-Food Nexus
  • Sustainable Development
  • Resource Use and Efficiency


  • Life Cycle Analysis
  • Input-Output Analysis
  • Water, Land, and Carbon Footprints
  • ·Economic Modelling
  • Development


In this project we analyse sustainable development in South Africa by utilising the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus approach. This approach looks at the synergies, conflicts, and trade-offs between the water, energy, and food sectors. The project is broken down into four key parts. First, we analyse the present and future sustainability of electricity production in South Africa under various scenarios. We do this by estimating the water and land requirements and carbon emissions of the electricity production lifecycle in South Africa. In the second part we analyse the sustainability of agricultural trade in South Africa. In this section we develop a new framework called the Water-Energy-Food Land-Economy- Climate framework which we then utilise to assess the sustainability of agricultural trade. In the third section, we investigate the drivers of household water demand in South Africa, with a particular focus on the impact water, energy, and food prices have on household water demand. In the fourth section, we perform a discrete choice experiment to investigate the relationship between water, energy, and food prices and the consumption of these three resources amongst low-income households in South Africa.

Supervision by

More information and contact details can be found on the personal profile of Thomas van Huyssteen

Water-Energy-Food Nexus
fig. 1 Water-Energy-Food Nexus
Last modified:06 April 2023 4.00 p.m.