Conflict Resolution of Water Resources Allocations Using the Game Theoretic Approach: The Case of Orumieh River Basin

Document Type : Research Paper



During recent years, unavoidable consequences of increased demand for, and decreased supply of, various natural resources, especially water, have caused increased conflict over their exploitation and also allocation to different stakeholders. Water allocations merely based on a water rights approach usually do not make efficient use of water for the whole river basin. Thus, there is a need for a comprehensive and stable allocation method that can satisfy all involved interest groups in the best manner. One of these methods is game theory that can be used to allocate the water resources among riparian parties regarding principles of equity, efficiency and sustainability. In this study, first a comprehensive linear programming model has been developed to achieve the optimal allocation pattern based on the initial water rights of stakeholders. Then, by using the results of the water planning model combined with the game theoretical concepts  such as the Core, the Shapely Value, and, the Gately propensity to disrupt index, possible cases of cooperation among riparian parties have been evaluated.
Finally, through the case study of the Orumieh River Basin in Iran with scarce water resources and multiple users, effectiveness and potential advantages of this approach have been shown. The results of the optimization model showed that the Kordestan province has the best situation in supplying its demands relative to the other provinces and in contrast, the East Azarbayejan has the most deficiency in supplying its demands in both agriculture and environmental sectors. Moreover, by following the given allocation pattern, the amount of water entering the Lake Orumieh will be more than its environmental demand during the planning. Therefore, the results of this study showed that cooperative game theory can be applied successfully to assess the cases of cooperation in the Orumieh River Basin in conjunction with a comprehensive water planning model.


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