Chapter

Participatory Development of Strategies for the Transformation of Agriculture

Chapter

Participatory Development of Strategies for the Transformation of Agriculture

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Abstract

The integrated management of water and land resources in the Zayandeh Rud basin is facing many challenges aggravated by large fluctuations in the annual rainfall and the volume of upstream water reservoirs over the last 10–20 years. Severe droughts have led to drastic changes in surface water supply for all stakeholders in the basin, and to an unpredictable irrigation water supply for agriculture. A factor adding to problems in water availability and access is the current practice to transfer water from the Zayandeh Rud basin to neighbouring basins.

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... We found the ZRB to be an appropriate case study firstly because of the high level of social conflict among the stakeholders, which underlines the necessity for application of a participatory approach. Second, there are recently established/empowered organizations (e.g., RBO and Farmers Trade Union) that have not been studied in the basin yet (Grundmann et al., 2020). Last, there is a basis for further investigations, which was established in a previous research and development project on integrated water resources management in the ZRB ; this provides a chance to organize and carry out several focus group discussions and iterative workshops. ...
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Chapter
For centuries, the Zayandeh Rud as the “life giving river” in the Central Iranian Plateau has attracted people. In times of the Persian Empire, the city of Isfahan grew to a famous and vital metropolis. Today, the Zayandeh Rud catchment is home to more than four million people and both an important industrial and – due to its fertile soils – agricultural region. Moreover, it hosts a uniquely diverse fauna and flora. The river’s attraction, however, has also led to a steady growth of water demand for different purposes. In order to guarantee a fair distribution of the valuable water resources, the Persian scholar Sheikh Bahaei invented a sophisticated system of water distribution rules in the 17th century. These rules – the so called Sheikh Bahaei scroll – are valid until today, but with increasing competition between the water using sectors it seems to be time to rethink the traditional system.
Chapter
The river Zayandeh Rud is the most important surface water in central Iran. The catchment area has beenaffected by two drought periods within the last 15 years. Decreasing surface and groundwater availabilityhas been accompanied by an increase in water withdrawal for irrigation, domestic uses, industry, and watertransfers to neighbouring provinces. This has led to severe ecological and social consequences. While theIranian government is officially committed to the IWRM idea, water management decisions have still beenbased on supply-driven strategies, and supply and demand have mainly been balanced by water transferprojects. Existing simulation models have not been used for management decisions because theirdevelopment lacked participatory elements and therefore they are considered as being biased. The aim ofthe project IWRM Isfahan is to develop a locally adapted IWRM process for the catchment area whichintegrates organisational, participative and technical measures. To this end, three different simulationmodels have been developed and merged into a Water Management Tool (WMT). WMT serves as themain instrument for a better understanding of water management processes within the catchment area andit provides the authorities in charge with a decision support tool. In order to achieve ownership andacceptance of the results and recommendations, accompanying measures like reforms in water governanceor the establishment of WMT commissions need to be realized. The first steps in this direction havealready been taken applying participatory methods. Initial estimations show that the implemented measuresas a whole carry the potential for successful conflict resolution.
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