Land, energy, and water use in Australia
Resource use is amongst Australia’s most pressing challenges. Currently, Australia has to address, and proactively manage, both resource scarcity (e.g. the recent droughts) and productivity/efficiency (driven by international competitiveness and emissions reduction). This challenge will intensify in coming years due to the influence of climate change, population growth, increased extreme weather events, and food and energy security.
This project aims to aid sustainable resource management by creating, for the first time, whole-system (from supply to final service) snapshots of three of Australia’s most critical systems: land, energy, and water. As well as identifying opportunities for stress-mitigation and productivity increases, the project highlights important linkages that constitute the ‘nexus’ between the three systems.
This analysis forms part of the BP sponsored ‘Foreseer’ project, and, as with previous Foreseer work, presents final results in the form of three Sankey diagrams. These diagrams focus on transformations (such as energy conversion or produce from land-use) and flows. In the search for efficiency or productivity, the potential impact of a certain policy is dependent both on the potential vs. current productivity of a transformation step, and the size of the flow through that step. The Sankey diagrams will, therefore, allow policymakers to focus efforts on transformation steps (in each of the three systems) which have the most potential. Comparisons are also made between Australia’s resource use and that of the world and California.
Finally, the Sankey analysis is used to appraise current and future policy directions in Australian land, water, and energy.