Water, energy, and food trade-offs in southeast and east Asia

Growing populations and wealth, and responses to climate change are driving greater and different uses of limited water resources. Increasingly governments are making decisions that trade off conservation of freshwater biodiversity, reduction of poverty, supply of nutritious foods, generation of electricity and responses to climate change. Our research looks at the identifying the costs and benefits of different trade off options so that governments in particular, and societies more broadly, can take better informed decisions.

Current projects include the following -

  • Assessing options for minimizing the impacts of hydropower development on freshwater ecosystems in China and SE Asia;
  • Examining potential development of pumped storage hydropower to increase use of renewable electricity while minimizing the impacts on people and the environment in APEC economies plus Mekong nations;
  • Researching the social, environmental and economic costs and benefits of traditional deep water rice versus intensive rice agricultural systems in SE Asia;
  • Assessing food security in both agricultural production and commodity trade – especially for proteins – resulting from hydropower development and agricultural intensification in SE Asia;
  • Researching the broader greenhouse gas emission implications from hydropower development; and
  • Examining innovation of community governance of water resources, including flood risk management.