Panel Paper: Fragmentation of Food-Energy-Water Nexus Governance: Implications for Collaboration, Co-Benefits, and Sustainability in the Metropolitan San Antonio Region

Friday, July 20, 2018
Building 3, Room 209 (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Kent Portney, Texas A&M University

Applied engineering and science research has developed deep understandings of the nexus between water, energy, and food/agriculture to argue for greater efficiencies and co-benefits, and to reduce the likelihood of resource depletion. Far less well understood is how these resources are “governed,” i.e. how public policy and management decisions are made that affect these connections. Connections in governance are important because the implied collaboration, cooperation, and collective action may represent the primary way that common pool resource problems can be avoided. The a priori expectation is that decision making in water, energy, and food are fragmented or “siloed,” and that there is little or no collaborative or cooperative decision making taking place. Moreover, the expectation is that these silos are largely institutional. Breaking down these institutional silos may lead to policy and management decisions that achieve greater efficiencies. The central questions animating this paper is to what extent decision-making in water, energy, and food are siloed and whether there are conceptual reasons from policy and management theory to suggest that breaking down these silos will impact the nexus between water, energy, and food. Results from a survey of water agencies about their connections to organizations that govern water, energy, and food in the San Antonio, Texas, region suggest that there is little interaction between and among them. To the extent that achieving greater nexus requires interactions, there is significant work to be done to re-think how to achieve greater institutional collective action in water, energy, and food policy and management.

Full Paper: