The Foreseer tool at the University of Cambridge investigates the ‘nexus’ of water, energy and land resources. It is a scenario generation tool which includes natural resource supply, transformation, and use, as well as the ways in which they affect each other. The Foreseer tool also calculates greenhouse gas emissions and other measures of stress, such as groundwater depletion, in response to user-defined scenarios. The basis of the tool is a set of linked physical models for these resources plus the technologies that transform these resources into final services.
The Foreseer Tool visualises energy, water and land resource futures through a set of Sankey diagrams which show the flow from basic resource (e.g. coal, surface water, and forested land) through transformations (e.g. fuel refining and desalination) to final services (e.g. sustenance, hygiene and transportation). The user of the tool is able to change future scenarios by choosing different parameters such as estimated population growth, climate change scenarios and others.
The Foreseer tool has been developed for California, and is currently being developed for China and the United Kingdom.
Below is a schematic that demonstrates how water, energy, land are connected. For example, water is needed for the extraction of fossil fuels, whilst energy is needed for the distribution and treatment of water.