Assessing River Basin Development Given Water‐Energy‐Food‐Environment Interdependencies
Robel Geressu, Christian Siderius, Julien J. Harou, Japhet Kashaigili, Laetitia Pettinotti, Declan Conway
Infrastructure in water‐energy‐food‐environment systems such as dams can play a beneficial role in supporting hydropower production and regulating the variability of river flow. However, these benefits often come with negative environmental impacts on wildlife, affect income from other economic sectors, and can damage river‐linked ecosystems (e.g., wetlands, floodplains, riverine forests, and mangroves). One way to help design future systems is to compare the energy, agricultural, and environmental conservation trade‐offs implied by different extents of development (i.e., realization of various reservoirs and irrigation schemes). We apply such a multisector spatial computer‐aided design approach to the Rufiji river basin in Tanzania and consider linkages across the water‐energy‐food‐environment sectors.