Assessing Possibilities for Agricultural Transformation

Agriculture is the main water user in the Zayandeh Rud catchment with more than 80 percent of water consumption. Farmers in particular are suffering more and more from periods of extreme drought which leaves them with little or no water. This in turn threatens their very existence. The subsequent decrease in agricultural areas results in increased desertification. Furthermore the wind swirls the dry soil particles including the salt through the air and carries it into the city.

In recent years haphazard measures to reduce social and water management problems have had modest success. Compensation for crop losses due to climate change is not a feasible policy. On different occasions farmers have clamoured for acceptable solutions. Many farmers have pleaded for their traditional water rights. However in light of diminishing water resources and increasing competition with other water users it is obvious that new ways must be found.

Strategies for farming with limited water resources

The agricultural sector is the critical variable for a successful IWRM process and at the same time the biggest challenge. New sustainable strategies for farming are essential to coping with limited water resources. Here the international experience of the project team comes into its own: in a mix of participatory methods, the tentative application of innovative technologies and use of a computer model, options for a forward-looking strategy are developed. The target is to provide local land users with a settled future perspective and to prevent further desertification.

By 2018 the work packages “Citizens’ Juries for Participatory Agricultural Transformation” and “Decreasing Water Consumption by Applying Innovative Irrigation Technology and Soil Conditioner” are expected to deliver results for the development of adapted land use strategies. These will be incorporated into the “The AgroHyd Farm Model for Assessing Agricultural Strategies” work package and eventually become part of the DSS.

Work Packages