Harnessing open-source datasets for global Water–Food–Energy–Climate Nexus analysis, demonstrated in Central Asia

The Water–Food–Energy–Climate Nexus (WFEC Nexus) approach is pivotal for transparent decision-making across the globe, especially in regions grappling with data scarcity. To this aim, a new study identified sixty unique datasets spanning six thematic categories, showcasing the potential of open-source data in driving evidence-based decisions in diverse global contexts, as demonstrated by Central Asian examples from the Hydro4U project.


“While our work offers a detailed exploration of how these data can be used in the Central Asian context, its true strength lies in its broader applicability”, said lead author Jan De Keyser, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. “The datasets and methodologies which we highlighted can be transformative for any region facing data limitations, providing a roadmap for holistic, informed decision-making.”


Geospatial data, as underscored in this article, is a game-changer in today’s data-driven era. It offers invaluable insights into various facets of the WFEC Nexus, from tracking land use changes to dealing with different water use interests, making it indispensable for policymakers and stakeholders worldwide.

Corresponding author Daniel S. Hayes, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, added, “The power of open-source data transcends regional boundaries. By presenting a comprehensive overview of these datasets, we aim to equip researchers and stakeholders across the globe with the foundations they need to address complex challenges.”


The paper also delves into the challenges of data scarcity, a concern not limited to Central Asia but prevalent in numerous regions globally. It advocates for bolstered investments in data acquisition and management, enhanced data exchange mechanisms, and the fostering of international collaborations to bridge these data gaps.


In conclusion, this research, a pivotal component of the Hydro4U project, serves as a beacon for experts working on WFEC-related challenges.


For a detailed overview of these data, please refer to the published article “Integrating Open-Source Datasets to Analyze the Transboundary Water–Food–Energy–Climate Nexus in Central Asia”, which can be downloaded for free here: https://doi.org/10.3390/w15193482




Author and picture credits: Daniel S. Hayes, BOKU