A complex systems analysis of the water-energy nexus in malaysia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Systems, 2020, 8, (2), pp. 1-21
Issue Date:
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© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Water security plays a crucial role in maintaining livelihoods, especially emerging economies. In Malaysia, understanding the inter-relationships of water within the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus is at its infancy. This paper investigates the interactions of the water sector with energy sector in Malaysia, through the lenses of WEF nexus, using system dynamics. The first part of the research involves qualitative interviews with key stakeholders in the water sectors, which provides validation for the initial causal loop relationships built and qualitative inputs of the water-energy nexus through the lenses of the water sector. The second part of the research is a quantitative simulation of stock and flow based on four carefully designed scenarios revolving around Malaysian water security. Key findings include an apparent disconnect between the states and federal governments in managing water supply, poor economic sustainability of the water supply and services industry, and significant energy use in the water sector. On the other hand, environmental impacts stemming from the water sector is minimal. Streamlining water governance and revising water tariffs have thus been suggested as policy recommendations, where their implementation could propagate into downstream benefits for the energy sector.
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