Water and energy are inextricably linked, and as a consequence both have to be addressed together. This is called the water-energy nexus. When access to either is limited, it becomes obvious that it is necessary to consider their interdependence. Population growth, climate change, urbanization, increasing living standards and food consumption will require an integrated approach where food, water and energy security are considered together. In this paper we examine water, energy and food security and their couplings. The nexus also creates conflicts between water use, energy extraction and generation as well as food production. Some of these conflicts are illustrated. It is argued that there is an urgent need for integrated planning and operation. Not only will better technology be needed, but also better integration of policies, organizations and political decisions.