The Role of Communication in Managing Complex Water–Energy–Food Governance Systems Academic Article uri icon


  • Managers of federal, state, local, and nonprofit organizations around the world are faced with the complex task of managing interconnected systems of scarce resources. One key example of this has been the recent research on the connections between water, energy, and food/agriculture, and the problem of managing these resources to be sustainable and reduce the likelihood of resource depletion. While engineering research has focused on achieving greater efficiencies in resource management, less attention has been given to issues of governance within the fragmented, decentralized, and polycentric systems that are responsible for resource delivery. The central question animating this paper is whether resource management decisions in water, energy, and food are siloed, and what theoretical frameworks can be leveraged to develop strategies to break down existing silos. Results from a survey of water agencies suggests that there is little communication between the water, energy, and food policy areas. If achieving greater nexus requires increased communication and repeated interactions, there is significant work to be done to re-think how policy and management are organized and conducted.

altmetric score

  • 1.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Greer, R. A., Hannibal, B., & Portney, K.

citation count

  • 2

publication date

  • April 2020

published in