System Dynamics Modeling of the Water Resources System in Mashad Plain to Analyze Strategies for Sustainable Development

Document Type : Research Paper



The growing exploitation of surface and ground water resources in Mashad Plain due to agricultural and related industrial development has resulted in a continuous fall in the local groundwater level. Aiming to show a practical way of integrated water resources assessment, the present paper will assess the water resources system in Mashad Plain uner policies in the process of the economic growth programs. Adopting a system dynamics modeling to better identify the system under study, the paper goes further to suggest local sustainability strategies using the "resource stress", "resource economic productivity", and the "local average water need" indicatiors based on the idea of viability loops. According to the suggested three strategies (the economic growth acknowledging limiting water resources, water allocation based on its value added, and altering to crop pattern) different policy pakcages were designed. The effects of policies on the selected indicators including "groundwater level", "resource stress", "resource economic productivity", "water scarcity", and "the local average water need" were investigated. The results showed that the superposed effect of the all strategies
together on the local sustainability will not be as much as the summation of the effects of separate strategies. It was also shown that changing the crop pattern to the one suggested one which is equivalent to wheat with 3000 m3/hr water need per hectare can serve as an effective policy on the local sustainability.


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