Lessons learned: Creating an interdisciplinary team and using a nexus approach to address a resource hotspot. Academic Article uri icon


  • Moving resource management and allocation away from sectoral silos to a paradigm founded in integration and leveraging cross-sectoral and trans-disciplinary synergies will result in expanded opportunities for economic development and improved social well-being (Mohtar, 2017; Mohtar and Daher, 2017). Interventions to address complex resource challenges must identify opportunities while cognizant of holistic, system level trade-offs (Daher and Mohtar, 2015; Daher et al., 2018a, b, c). These interventions must be contextualized locally: Texas has spatially varied water scarcity, energy resource abundance, and rapid population growth; in the northeastern United States water quality, drainage, and extreme weather events pose far greater challenges. While the overall system-of-systems quantification of water, energy, food and other interconnected systems remains similar across hotspots, the solutions to the challenges posed within each hotspot are bound by local knowledge, physical resource constraints, and governance challenges. This paper introduces the experience of the Texas A&M University Water-Energy-Food Nexus Initiative (WEFNI) in creating a University wide, three-year investigatory experience in which an interdisciplinary group addressed the resource challenges facing the San Antonio region. This Science of the Total Environment (STOTEN) Special Issue documents, in 9 distinct, yet complementary, research articles, the multiple dimensions of this resource hotspot. This paper reflects on the process of creating interdisciplinary teams and presents an overview of the questions and research conducted under thematic foci: data and modeling, trade-off analysis, water for food, water for energy, and governance. Lessons learned from the interdisciplinary experience are presented; potentially transferrable to addressing other resource hotspots within the US, and globally.

published proceedings

  • Sci Total Environ

author list (cited authors)

  • Mohtar, R. H., & Daher, B.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Mohtar, Rabi H||Daher, Bassel

publication date

  • January 2019