A system dynamics simulation model for sustainable water resources management and agricultural development in the Volta River Basin, Ghana

Kotir, Julius H., Smith, Carl, Brown, Greg, Marshall, Nadine, and Johnstone, Ron (2016) A system dynamics simulation model for sustainable water resources management and agricultural development in the Volta River Basin, Ghana. Science of the Total Environment, 573. pp. 444-457.

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Abstract

In a rapidly changing water resources system, dynamic models based on the notion of systems thinking can serve as useful analytical tools for scientists and policy-makers to study changes in key system variables over time. In this paper, an integrated system dynamics simulation model was developed using a system dynamics modelling approach to examine the feedback processes and interaction between the population, the water resource, and the agricultural production sub-sectors of the Volta River Basin in West Africa. The objective of the model is to provide a learning tool for policy-makers to improve their understanding of the long-term dynamic behaviour of the basin, and as a decision support tool for exploring plausible policy scenarios necessary for sustainable water resource management and agricultural development. Structural and behavioural pattern tests, and statistical test were used to evaluate and validate the performance of the model. The results showed that the simulated outputs agreed well with the observed reality of the system. A sensitivity analysis also indicated that the model is reliable and robust to uncertainties in the major parameters. Results of the business as usual scenario showed that total population, agricultural, domestic, and industrial water demands will continue to increase over the simulated period. Besides business as usual, three additional policy scenarios were simulated to assess their impact on water demands, crop yield, and net-farm income. These were the development of the water infrastructure (scenario 1), cropland expansion (scenario 2) and dry conditions (scenario 3). The results showed that scenario 1 would provide the maximum benefit to people living in the basin. Overall, the model results could help inform planning and investment decisions within the basin to enhance food security, livelihoods development, socio-economic growth, and sustainable management of natural resources.

Item ID: 47047
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: agricultural production, feedback loops, system dynamics modelling, river basin, scenarios analysis, systems thinking
ISSN: 1879-1026
Funders: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), University of Queensland
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2017 07:34
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050299 Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960702 Consumption Patterns, Population Issues and the Environment @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960599 Ecosystem Assessment and Management not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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