Groundwater Irrigation Management and the Existing Challenges from the Farmers’ Perspective in Iran

Groundwater Irrigation Management and the Existing Challenges from the Farmers’ Perspective in Iran

Challenges in ​managing scarce ​water resources ​by farmers ​under increased ​impacts of ​climate change. ​

Authors :   Forough ​Jafary and ​Chris Bradley ​

(This article ​belongs to the ​Special Issue ​Arid Land ​Systems: ​Sciences and ​Societies) ​

Abstract: The ​sustainable ​management of ​natural ​resources, and ​particularly ​groundwater, ​presents a ​major challenge ​in arid regions ​to ensure ​security of ​water supply ​and support ​agricultural ​production. In ​many cases, the ​role of ​smallholder ​farmers is ​often neglected ​when managing ​irrigated water ​and land ​processes. ​However, ​management ​decisions have ​a major impact ​on farmers’​ livelihoods, ​and it is ​essential: ​first, to ​recognise the ​crucial role of ​regional and ​local social, ​political and ​economic ​systems; and ​second, to ​integrate ​farmers’ ​perspectives in ​the governance ​and management ​of local ​groundwater ​practices. This ​is particularly ​important as ​the ways in ​which arid ​region farmers ​use land and ​water have ​wider ​implications ​for land ​degradation and ​salinization. ​This paper uses ​a community-​based approach ​to identify and ​examine the ​social, ​economic and ​cultural ​dimensions to ​groundwater ​irrigation ​systems from ​the perspective ​of local ​farmers in ​central Iran. ​The paper ​utilises ​interviews with ​local farmers ​and water ​agencies in ​Iran to reflect ​on their ​respective ​roles within ​the irrigation ​system and in ​developing ​management ​plans for the ​sustainable use ​of groundwater. ​Through social ​research, we ​investigate the ​reasons why ​farmers might ​reject ​government ​irrigation ​management ​schemes and ​outline how ​local problems ​with land ​degradation and ​salinization ​and reduced ​water ​availability ​have arisen as ​a result of ​changing ​management ​policies. In ​conclusion, we ​identify future ​challenges and ​consider ​appropriate ​future ​management ​strategies.​  ​

Keywords: drip ​irrigation; ​groundwater; ​common-pool ​resource; water ​rights; local ​farming. ​

Citation: Jafary,​ F.; Bradley, C.​ Groundwater ​Irrigation ​Management and ​the Existing ​Challenges from ​the Farmers’​ Perspective in ​Central Iran. ​Land 2018, 7, ​15.

DOI  10.3390/land7010015 

Source  MDPI