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Nexus Tools Platform

an interactive platform for inter-model comparison of existing Water-Soil-Waste modelling tools

Water-Soil-Waste Nexus

As global population and incomes rise, the demand for both food and water is expected to grow by more than 50% by 2050[1,2]. At the same time, agriculture accounts for more than 70% of the global freshwater withdrawal and worldwide soil erosion rates are likely to increase[3]. Therefore, the use of waste water in irrigation as a source of nutrients and other organic materials is becoming generally accepted:

Humans produce about 12 m3 of water, 4.5 kg of nitrogen, and 0.6 kg of phosphorous per person per year. A community of 500 can irrigate about a hectare of agricultural land and fertilise five to seven hectares. Harvested plants from constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment can provide 12% of a village’s cooking fuel needs.” (source)

Instead of managing those environmental resources at individual level, the whole system should be considered as a Water-Soil-Waste Nexus. The nexus perspective emphasizes the synergies across sectors and scales which allows better trade-off analysis, resource use efficiency, governance and policy coherence. As a results, more sustainable economic and environmental development can be achieved. Particularly, when it comes to the issues of the human influence on ecosystems such as water quality, soil erosion and environmental pollution.

As a leading expert, UNU Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources specifically focuses on the water, soil and waste sustainability. You can find more information here.

Nexus Tools Platform (NTP)

To address nexus-oriented research questions or management issues, instead of developing a tool from scratch, it is more efficient to make use of available tools and modify or couple them as required. A Nexus Tools Platform or NTP is a comprehensive database of models related to the management of water, soil, and waste. It allows a user to perform the analysis of available simulation tools and select the most appropriate ones to fit your needs.

Continually being improved, the NTP aims to provide detailed information, key features, and parameters provided on respective model websites, manuals, publications, or by model developers. When looking for particular features or processes to be considered in any nexus-related modelling exercise, the NTP allows selecting and deselecting features and processes in interactive charts as appropriate. Moreover, the platform offers advanced search and filter functions to improve your user experience.

For example, you can find how to connect the hydrological model with the ecosystem model or which software to use to analyze the influence of waste water irrigation on groundwater quality.

When you use the information from this website, please cite the publication below:

Mannschatz, T., T. Wolf, and S. Hülsmann. 2016. Nexus Tools Platform: Web-Based Comparison of Modelling Tools for Analysis of Water-Soil-Waste Nexus. Environmental Modelling & Software 76: 137–53. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2015.10.031


1. Valin, H. , Sands, R. D., van der Mensbrugghe, D. , Nelson, G. C., Ahammad, H. , Blanc, E. , Bodirsky, B. , Fujimori, S. , Hasegawa, T. , Havlik, P. , Heyhoe, E. , Kyle, P. , Mason‐D'Croz, D. , Paltsev, S. , Rolinski, S. , Tabeau, A. , van Meijl, H. , von Lampe, M. and Willenbockel, D. (2014), The future of food demand: understanding differences in global economic models. Agricultural Economics, 45: 51-67. doi:10.1111/agec.12089

2. OECD (2012a), OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction, OECD Publishing, Paris.

3. Borrelli, Pasquale, David A. Robinson, Larissa R. Fleischer, Emanuele Lugato, Cristiano Ballabio, Christine Alewell, Katrin Meusburger, et al. “An Assessment of the Global Impact of 21st Century Land Use Change on Soil Erosion.” Nature Communications 8, no. 1 (December 8, 2017): 2013. doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-02142-7.