Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Impact & innovation case study


Impact summary

  • Engages with end-users across all the component parts of the nexus
  • Linkage of data at national and local scales
  • Citizen-science has proved to be invaluable in data acquisition
  • Researchers and home-owners participate in research

SAGES member

Prof Marian ScottDr Scott McGrane / University of Glasgow

Funded by EPSRC

Aim of the project

WEFWEBS (“Mapping the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus”) 

WEFWEBS is an EPSRC funded project addressing the challenges of understanding and identifying the dynamic, interlinked inter-dependencies across physical (water, waste, energy and food), social and political and ecological systems at local, regional and national scale.

The feasibility and utility of WEF nexus mapping relies on an interpretation of available, and generation of new, data and models, drawn from a wide variety of sources, including measurement and monitoring of the physical and ecological environment, using both traditional but also more modern sensor development, (process, statistical, behavioural and lifecycle) models, and more qualitative data sources drawn from the diverse stakeholder communities, using recent developments in participatory mapping, crowd sourcing and social media.

Research is embedded in a number of place based studies including London, Oxford, the Tamar Valley and Plymouth, and in specific processes, such as viticulture.


WEFWEBs is delivering different visualisations of the WEF nexus underpinned by qualitative and quantitative data and models to aid identification of the structure and flows and thus interdependencies, many of which are currently hidden by nexus complexity.

These represent the entry point for improvements such as alignment of policies, practices and resource allocation across sectors and scales, increased efficiency and effectiveness of targeted interventions, protection of critical system elements and increased resilience by enabling informed management. WEFWEBs will provide a coherent, methodological approach to the spatial and temporal scale issues with all WEF mapping.

WEFWEBs has already mapped the broad regulatory environment for water (abstraction, pollution control and flood risk), food (farming, food safety, animal welfare and agri-environment objectives and energy (production and use) and ongoing work is developing new “Internet of Things” scaleable WEF nexus solutions from household to city.


WEFWEBs engages with end-users across all the component parts of the nexus, including householders, local communities, food, water and energy companies, regulators and local councils.

Central to our engagement has been the acquisition and linkage of data at national and local scales, including the generation of new energy data at household and commercial scales and a series of participatory workshops in Oxford and Plymouth, with further workshops planned in London and East Sussex.

Energy usage is widely monitored across the UK, and official sources and citizen-science have proved to be invaluable in data acquisition.

The team has installed monitors to identify both total consumption and appliance level consumption in households in Newcastle and in London (in the future). This will enable researchers and home-owners to identify how much energy is being used and where. Additionally, working closely with a winery in East Sussex, the team has installed a series of sensors that enable us to monitor energy usage inside the wine processing facilities and vineyards.

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