Regional Sustainability ›› 2021, Vol. 2 ›› Issue (3): 224-238.doi: 10.1016/j.regsus.2021.11.003

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Incremental adaptation strategies for agricultural water management under water scarcity condition in Northeast Iran

Morteza SALMANI SABZEVARa, Amirreza REZAEIa,*(), Bagher KHALEGHIb   

  1. aDepartment of Agricultural Extension and Education, College of Agricultural Economics and Development, University of Tehran, Karaj, 3158777871, Iran
    bDepartment of Forestry and Forest Economics, University of Tehran, Karaj, 3158777871, Iran
  • Received:2020-04-28 Revised:2021-08-05 Accepted:2021-11-05 Online:2021-07-30 Published:2021-12-24
  • Contact: Amirreza REZAEI


Population growth and climate changes as two synergistic phenomena have damaged water resources nationwide and worldwide. The water resources available for agriculture is one of the most critical limiting factors in food production enhancement in Iran. Agriculture must tackle the challenge of supplying the increasing demands for food due to population growth. For this purpose, we must get acquainted with how farmers make decisions and their adaptations to water scarcity conditions by studying their adaptation strategies. In this case, we can predict the farmers’ behaviors by recognizing the optimal adaptation strategies under water scarcity crisis. This study aims to provide a model to examine and analyze the farmers’ behaviors in the realm of water scarcity and the contributing factors to it, facilitating a better understanding of the potential implications of such scarcity, introducing the adaptation changeability procedures for agricultural water management and assistance to farmers to adapt, and developing the actions for mitigating the vulnerability of agriculture sector in Iran. In this study, 175 farmers in Northeast Iran were interviewed to conduct an applied research by questionnaire survey. The research tool was a researcher-made questionnaire designed based on the theoretical literature and designed model. According to the research, the model of incremental adaptation strategies could determine the effects of a set of psychological and socioeconomic factors and the formation of adaptation decisions in water resources management under water scarcity conditions. The results indicated that the concern and attitude, farmers’ knowledge and technical skill, self-efficiency and risk-taking level, social capital and information availability for farmers, and the internal norm are significantly and positively correlated in this model. The results provide a proper understanding of farmers’ sustainable decision-making and a perspective on contributing factors to the strategy framework and improved policies in the form of incremental adaptation strategies when facing water scarcity in agricultural water resources management. Thus, this study will respond to deal with water scarcity by changing farmers’ behaviors in dry lands and water scarce regions.

Key words: Agricultural water management, Incremental adaptation strategies, Water scarcity, Climate change, Northeast Iran