Water, Food and Energy Track

Food and energy production require substantial amounts of water. At the same time, water scarcity, and the decline of ecosystems threaten equitable access to food and energy.


Hydraulic engineering; Irrigation engineering; Agricultural water management; Food security; Environmental aspects; Sustainable irrigation development; Water-Energy-Food nexus approach; Alternative energy generation; Dams and hydropower

What will I learn?

You will examine water related linkages between food and low-carbon energy production, critically assessing possible trade-offs and synergies. 

Integrated approaches for land and water management will be considered in the broader context of land tenure and water reform processes, relating this to markets, technologies and social justice.

You will learn to critically analyse how changes in water and land allocation, to produce food and energy, shape processes of rural transformation and livelihoods of different groups in society. Depending on the profile you choose, you will learn to develop appropriate governance mechanisms and digital innovations; plan, design, operate and maintain irrigation infrastructure or develop and integrate new and existing forms of water-based energy, amongst many other subjects. In summary, this track aims for society’s transformation to more sustainable and equitable practices.

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Access for all to water, food and energy, while safeguarding the environment, is a big challenge.
Charlotte de Fraiture
Professor of Land and Water Development

About the track

Track set-up

Helped by your coach, you choose from four disciplinary profiles, allowing you to focus on a specific aspect of the track or to mix and match (also across tracks), to give you a broader view of the topic. The profiles are: Engineering, Governance and Management, Environment and Digital Innovation.

The six track modules (2-7) are interspersed with so-called mixed weeks, in which one or two days are reserved for exams, half a day for portfolio development and coaching, while the remaining days are dedicated to skills training.


Module 2 Introduction to Water, Food and Energy

The world has seen a major increase in the demand for food and the for low-carbon energy. Irrigated agriculture is the largest consumer of water and low-carbon energy (e.g. hydropower, biofuels, wave energy) also often rely on water availability. This amplifies the pressure on the finite water resources and create possible tensions and limitations to achieve food and energy security.

This module will examine water related linkages between food and low-carbon energy production to identify, discuss and critically assess possible tradeoffs and synergies. For this, students will engage with debates on integrated approaches for managing land and water resources across sectors.

Moreover, the current development related to agriculture and low-carbon energy production will be placed in the broader context of land tenure and water reform processes and how this relates to trade relations, markets and technologies. As such, students will critically analyze how changes in water and land allocation to produce food and energy shape processes of rural transformation and livelihoods of different kinds of groups in society.

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Interdisciplinary project and MSc thesis

By the end of April, upon conclusion of the track modules, you will continue your studies with the interdisciplinary project and the MSc thesis research. Read more about this at the programme's main page.


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