Development of a prototype composite index for resilience and security of water-energy-food (WEF) systems in industrialised nations

Qingying Shu, Marian Scott, Lindsay Todman, Scott J. McGrane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


The Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus is a dynamic and complex system, in which the resources of water, energy, and food are inextricably linked. The system faces a number of threats including man-made hazards, e.g. overpopulation, urbanisation, ageing population, terrorism and geopolitical upheaval, and natural hazards such as climate change and extreme weather events. General indicators for the WEF nexus provide information on current access and availability of water, energy and food to a population. However, in industrialised nations such as the UK, such information is often masked by the consistently high access and availability of WEF resources. This paper proposes a composite WEF resilience index formed by aggregating two sets of indicators: one representing the availability level of WEF resources in terms of three WEF sectors; and the other representing population access to the resources at the household level. The WEF availability and the household accessibility indicators were calculated separately within the water, energy, food, and household sectors. Within each sector, an Analytical Hierarchical Process was used for weighting sub-indicators based on experts’ evaluation of the relative importance among the sub-indicators. This allowed us to synthesize individual opinions using expertise level in a group decision-making framework. A pilot study was performed on the UK WEF nexus to measure resilience in recent times. This prototype composite index can be used for exploring the resilience of the WEF systems to shocks and changes in the presence of high WEF access and availability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100124
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental and Sustainability Indicators
Early online date25 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2021


  • resilience index
  • water-energy-food nexus
  • household accessibility
  • analytic hierarchy process
  • group decision-making


Dive into the research topics of 'Development of a prototype composite index for resilience and security of water-energy-food (WEF) systems in industrialised nations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this