Water scarcity assessment in Iran’s agricultural sector using the water footprint concept

Dehghanpir, Shahla, Bazrafshan, Ommolbanin, Ramezani Etedali, Hadi, Holisaz, Arashk, and Collins, Brian (2024) Water scarcity assessment in Iran’s agricultural sector using the water footprint concept. Environment, Development and Sustainability. (In Press)

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The adoption of the water footprint concept and its application in assessing water stress can provide valuable insights into the sustainable use of water resources in agricultural production. The objective of the present study is to calculate the agricultural water stress index (AWSI) using the water footprint framework and water scarcity indices, namely blue water scarcity (BWS), water stress index (WSI), water self-sufficiency (WSS), water dependency (WD), and water poverty (WP) indices in Iran’s agricultural sector during the period of 2008–2019. Subsequently, the spatiotemporal patterns of water scarcity indices were examined at both the provincial and national levels. The findings reveal that the agricultural water footprint (AWF) amounted to approximately 195.6 Gm3, with AWFblue, AWFgreen, and AWFgray accounting for 85.2%, 6.9%, and 7.9%, respectively. The average national AWSI was estimated to be 0.94, indicating a state of extreme stress, and exhibiting an upward trend from 2012 to 2019. The southern and central regions, notably Yazd, Kerman, Tehran, and Hormozgan, have experienced severe and extreme water stress (AWSI > 1.38). Conversely, the humid and Mediterranean regions in the north, northwest, and west of Iran experience varying degrees of low to moderate water scarcity. Nevertheless, the western region (West Azerbaijan) and the northwest region (Zanjan and Hamedan) have transitioned from a state of moderate stress to a high-stress category (AWSI > 0.6). Based on the results, regions where BWS < AWSI < WSI exhibit lower levels of WP and WSS, but higher levels of WD. Conversely, in regions where AWSI > BWS > WSI, the significant diversity of agricultural products has contributed to an increase in WP and WSS, along with a decrease in WD. The AWSI, based on the water footprint concept, proves to be more suitable for reflecting regional water scarcity compared to existing water stress indices, particularly in arid and semi-arid agricultural production regions, due to the demonstrated environmental impacts of sustainable agricultural production.

Item ID: 80530
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-2975
Keywords: Agricultural water stress index, Blue water scarcity, Water footprint, Water scarcity
Copyright Information: © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. 2023
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2024 03:41
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300201 Agricultural hydrology @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410406 Natural resource management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 26 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 2601 Environmentally sustainable plant production > 260104 Management of water consumption by plant production @ 100%
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