RSS icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Vimeo icon
YouTube icon

What would Thomas Malthus tell us in the 21st Century?: Experiences in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus from an International Development Perspective

March 6, 2018 - 4:00pm
Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm
UMD Atmospheric & Oceanic Science


Ongoing research focused on analyzing the synergies and tradeoffs posed by the water-energy-food nexus is presented. This covers the need for quantitative tools (e.g., data, models) to support the analysis of integrated water, energy and food systems, from a perspective relevant to the work of international development organizations: dialog with countries and increasing awareness of “nexus” thinking and planning, building regional and in-country capacity toward integrated planning and identification/evaluation of trade-offs and synergies in developing such systems, and fostering interdisciplinary expertise in principles, algorithms, and model formulations for understanding and evaluating the potential of implementing nexus approaches within a systems perspective. This research stresses the necessity of integrating areas of disciplinary expertise, the ability to identify and address shared needs of water, energy and food stakeholders, and facilitating tailored analyses over different spatial and temporal scales. Outputs and products of recent nexus work will highlight further research and development needs focused on upstream sector planning in order to identify primary opportunities and constraints to water, energy, and food system development, and also result in an improved understanding of economic and social trade-offs among competing nexus priorities, and particularly prioritization of sector investments. Four recent experiences in South Africa, China, the Middle East and Latin America are presented as examples of nexus tradeoffs offering a rationale for investment rationalization and priorities.

Dr. Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm is a hydrologist and water resources engineer with research expertise in modeling of surface and groundwater hydrology, solute transport with physical, chemical and biological processes in aquatic ecosystems, climate-hydrology-vegetation interactions, stormwater management in urban watersheds, water-energy-food nexus and system dynamics modeling. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS) and Interim Director of ESSIC (Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center), both at the University of Maryland (UMD), where he also holds an appointment as Professor with the Department of Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences. Before joining UMD, Dr. Miralles was a Lead Specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), where he managed the bank's investment portfolio in water resources and climate adaptation projects for the IDB’s 26 countries served in the Latin American and the Caribbean region. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (2009) and a Diplomate of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers (2002) and the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (2008). He holds a mechanical engineering diploma from Universidad Simón Bolívar in Venezuela, a Masters degree in Engineering from the University of California-Irvine, and a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Hosted by Victor Yakovenko

*Light Refreshments at 3:30pm*

PSC Lobby
College Park, MD 20742