(388e) Interventions for Reducing Energy Impacts of Water Embodied in Domestic Food Trade: A Network Perspective
In this work, we propose and evaluate a range of intervention strategies to enhance environmental sustainability and resilience of the domestic food trade network as they relate to irrigation and its embodied energy impacts. We use publicly available datasets to develop weighted and directed networks of interstate food trade and associated environmental impacts. We consider interstate food transfers of over 50 commodities including cereal grains, milled grains, livestock, and meat products. From a network perspective, the weighted food trade network consists of a few key states (Texas, California, Kansas) that control high throughput. We also observe that these influential states depend on water resources facing depletion risks (Colorado river basin, Ogallala aquifer), employ energy and water inefficient irrigation systems, and utilize electricity and diesel-based pumps. We evaluate the impact of technological, behavioral, and policy interventions using our interstate food network model to study their impact on the sustainability and resilience of the domestic FEW nexus. The investigated interventions include changes in irrigation practices, energy mixes, adjustments in diet patterns, and spatial changes in food production patterns. These strategies help in prioritizing and shedding light on interventions that aid in improving sustainability and resilience of the FEW nexus from a systems perspective as opposed to those that offer incremental advantages. The implications of these findings including their potential and limitations for enhancing the sustainability and resilience of the FEW nexus will be described in detail.
N. Vora, A. Shah, M.M. Bilec, and V. Khanna. Food-Energy-Water nexus: quantifying embodied energy and GHG emissions from irrigation through virtual water transfers in food trade, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 2017, 5(3), 2119-2128.