Optimizing Regional Food and Energy Production under Limited Water Availability through Integrated Modeling

Gao J, Xu X, Cao G-Y, Ermoliev Y, Ermolieva T, & Rovenskaya E (2018). Optimizing Regional Food and Energy Production under Limited Water Availability through Integrated Modeling. Sustainability 10 (6): e1689. DOI:10.3390/su10061689.

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Abstract

Across the world, human activity is approaching planetary boundaries. In northwest China, in particular, the coal industry and agriculture are competing for key limited inputs of land and water. In this situation, the traditional approach to planning the development of each sector independently fails to deliver sustainable solutions, as solutions made in sectorial ‘silos’ are often suboptimal for the entire economy. We propose a spatially detailed cost-minimizing model for coal and agricultural production in a region under constraints on land and water availability. We apply the model to the case study of Shanxi province, China. We show how such an integrated optimization, which takes maximum advantage of the spatial heterogeneity in resource abundance, could help resolve the conflicts around the water–food–energy (WFE) nexus and assist in its management. We quantify the production-possibility frontiers under different water-availability scenarios and demonstrate that in water-scarce regions, like Shanxi, the production capacity and corresponding production solutions are highly sensitive to water constraints. The shadow prices estimated in the model could be the basis for intelligent differentiated water pricing, not only to enable the water-resource transfer between agriculture and the coal industry, and across regions, but also to achieve cost-effective WFE management.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: water–food–energy nexus; tradeoffs; coal production; agriculture; production-possibility frontier; shadow price; model
Research Programs: Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA)
Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Exploratory and Special projects (ESP)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 29 May 2018 11:37
Last Modified: 29 May 2018 11:41
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/15299

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