Exploratory Scenarios for Socio-Technical Analysis of Agricultural Water Demand Management in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions: A Case Study of Zayandeh Rud River Basin

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0003-0903-3223
Nazemi, Neda, Civil Engineering - School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Louis, Garrick, Department of Systems and Information Engineering, University of Virginia
Foley, Rider, Department of Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

Today, there is an urgent necessity to consider alternative ways that society can manage scarce water resources in response the ever-growing demand for freshwater around the world. Yet, this need is even more acute in arid and semi-arid regions, like the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries that water resources are extremely limited, and are projected to decline due to climate change and population growth. In the MENA region, the agriculture sector is responsible for more than 90% of water usage, and that is not enough to secure the food demands of the region. Current mitigation strategies are short-term, ineffective and to some extent, they just make the problem worse.
In this research, I used the Zayandeh Rud watershed in Iran as a case study to explore adaptive agricultural water demand management strategies. I utilized the results to develop a small set of coherent, plausible and systematically different water governance scenarios for Zayandeh Rud 2030, through a participatory formative scenario construction approach.
While the first scenario resembles an extension of the status quo, the other scenarios represent four different mitigation approaches to manage agriculture water demand. These exploratory scenarios will set the stage for future quantitative research into the key civil and environmental engineering strategies and the dynamic responses in the agricultural sector. However, the different mitigation strategies might offer different levels of effectuality and sustainability. Each scenario might represent and serve a group of stakeholders’ values and interests better than others. Further, these scenarios may provide stakeholders with insights about the potential decisions and impacts on water and food security, local communities’ resilience and ecological sustainability of watershed. The result of this study can facilitate communication between stakeholders and induce collective and informed decision-making.

MS (Master of Science)
Scenario Planning, Agricultural Water Demand, Integrated Water Resource Managment, Water Governance, Sustainability, Policy making, Decision-making, Iran, Zayandeh Rud, Zayandehroud, Isfahan, Middle East and North Africa, MENA, Arid and Semi-arid Region
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: