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Part II: water-energy-food nexus issues & approaches in the UK & overseas

Event organised by The Irrigation and Water Forum

24 February 2023

This event has now ended

You can catch-up on details or any broadcast and downloads here.


Unfortunately the recording of Brendan Bromwich’s presentation along with final conclusions was corrupted. We apologise for this but hope you enjoy the recording of the first half. Thank you.

Water, energy and food are essential for human well-being. Water, energy and food systems are interlinked with land, climate and ecological systems. Global demands for food, water and energy are projected to increase against a background of decreasing water availability due to a combination of increasing abstractions (mainly for agriculture) and climate change, spiraling energy costs and the threat of land degradation. Management of competing demands involves identifying trade-offs and synergies among interlinked systems in order to achieve a balanced sustainable development.

The global community is well aware of water-energy-food challenges, but has often addressed them in isolation, within sectoral limits. At the country level, fragmented sectoral responsibilities, lack of coordination, and inconsistencies between legal and regulatory frameworks has led to misaligned benefits and stress on natural resources.

A Water-Energy-Food (and increasingly Environmental) Nexus approach is reported to offer a means of analysing and managing competing demands on limited resources in an integrated manner. The meeting will explore what is meant by a nexus approach and will highlight examples of integrated analysis aimed at managing trade-offs and optimising outputs.

Talks will be given by speakers who are working on issues using an integrated or nexus approach.


13:30 - 14:00

Registration, Tea and Coffee Welcome and Introduction Dr Ian Tod (IWF Chair)

14:10 - 14:50

The water-energy-food nexus in a changing future – insights from integrated regional modelling Prof Ian Holman, Head of the Centre for Water, Environment and Development and Professor of Integrated Land and Water Management, Cranfield University

14:50 - 15:30

Cross-sector water resources planning in England: The Environment Agency’s National Framework for Water Resources and beyond Richard Thompson, Deputy Director, Water Management and Investment, Environment Agency

15:30 - 16:00

Tea and coffee

16:00 - 16:40

Water, environment, infrastructure and finance – how systems perspectives help Dr Brendan Bromwich, Principal Civil Engineer, Mott MacDonald

16:40 - 17:00

Concluding discussions


Close of meeting


Prof Ian Holman

Prof Ian Holman

Cranfield University

head of the centre for water

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Prof Ian Holman

Ian Holman is Professor of Integrated Land and Water Management and Head of the Centre for Water, Environment and Development at Cranfield University. His research over the past 25 years has taken an interdisciplinary perspective to sustainable land and water resource management, agricultural modelling, drought risk management and climate change impacts and adaptation in the UK, Europe and internationally. Reuters named him in their recent (2021) list of the world’s top climate change scientists.

Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson

Water Management and Investment, Environment Agency

deputy director

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Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson is an environmental scientist with over 20 years’ experience in the environmental sector. Currently Deputy Director for Water Management and Investment at the Environment Agency, he oversees a department leading the EA’s management of water resources in England, including strategic water planning. Richard has previously led the Environment Agency’s work on the Water Framework Directive and integrated water management. Richard is a Chartered Environmentalist and a member of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environment Management.

Dr Brendan Bromwich

Dr Brendan Bromwich

Mott MacDonald

principal civil engineer

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Dr Brendan Bromwich

Dr Brendan Bromwich leads on Systems approaches for Mott MacDonald’s Water Consultancy Division. He regularly collaborates with Defra, the Environment Agency, water companies and regional government to develop workable systems approaches to water, environment and infrastructure. Previously he worked for the UN Environment Programme on post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building relating to the environment. His publications include co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Food, Water and Society, co-authoring the Hydraulic Design of Side Weirs and numerous publications on environmental governance, conflict and peacebuilding.


For more information please contact:

Fiona Oteng