EGU24-12977, updated on 09 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping approach to support WEFE NEXUS policies and decision-making

Maite Sanchez-Revuelta1, Daniel A. Segovia-Cardozo1, Xenia Schneider2, and Leonor Rodriguez-Sinobas1
Maite Sanchez-Revuelta et al.
  • 1Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain. (
  • 2XPRO Consulting Limited, Strovolos, Cyprus.

Water stress, together with rising energy prices, have become a major concern worldwide, especially for food production (the major water consumer) that leads to ecosystem degradation in arid and semiarid countries such as Spain. The Spanish irrigated area ​​ has been continuously expanding and modernizing in response to the food demant increase and to promote economic development and support the rural areas which are aspects generally considered on an individual basis, against the advice of the international community to achieve a balance in  Water, Energy, Food and Ecosystem (WEFE) Nexus. But also, it is crucial to consider stakeholders' perspectives, understand their experiences and opinions to work together and find more realistic and effective solutions. Participatory modeling, such as Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping (FCM), is frequently used, with satisfactory results, within the WEFE Nexus context to understand the perception of stakeholders for decision making.

This work aims to analyze the perceptions of various stakeholders (researchers, policymakers, environmental groups, farmers' associations, food retailers, consumer organizations, water treatment companies, and water reuse experts) regarding interactions in variables related to the four sectors of the WEFE nexus in the Duero River basin. Understanding the perception of the stakeholders about these topics can help to improve policy, decision making and to enhance scientific research, innovation, and knowledge transfer in the fields related to the WEFE Nexus.

To identify the concepts, three workshops were conducted with 14 participants from different sectors related to WEFE NEXUS areas.  The workshop accomplished  different activities with the purpose of highlighting the main ideas about WEFE in a participative way, that were reinforced in the following workshop, to make sure that we gather the real perception of the stakeholders without leaving any of them aside. As a result, 30 concepts have been identified, simplified and used to develop a FCM, in which stakeholders will identify relations between them, assigning weights to these relationships correlations based on their own perception. Then, the final FCM will be analyzed by Metal Modeler program, which will allow to understand interconnections among variables according to the stakeholders´ perception and study future scenarios obtained as a result of performed workshops. Scenario analysis allows to explore the intricate relationships that exist within a system, and to examine how changes in one variable can influence the dynamics of the entire system. Creating narrative pathways from plausible future developments helps decision-makers assess the potential impact of policies from the perspective of multidisciplinary stakeholders.

How to cite: Sanchez-Revuelta, M., A. Segovia-Cardozo, D., Schneider, X., and Rodriguez-Sinobas, L.: A Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping approach to support WEFE NEXUS policies and decision-making, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-12977,, 2024.