System Dynamics Simulation of Regional Water Supply and Demand Using a Food-Energy-Water-Nexus Approach: Application to Qazvin Plain, Iran

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Understanding the complexity and feedbacks among food, energy, and water (FEW) systems is key to making informed decisions about sustainable development. This paper presents qualitative representation and quanti- tative system dynamics simulation of the water resources system in the Qazvin Plain, Iran, taking into account the energy intensity of water supply and interconnected water use sectors (e.g., urban, industrial, and agricul- tural). Qazvin Plain faces water resources challenges that are common to arid/semi-arid areas, including frequent droughts, declining surface water and groundwater, and increased urban and agricultural water demand. A system dynamics model is developed using historical data (2006–2016) to investigate the effects of anticipated dynamics of integrated water and energy sectors in the next two decades. The results of policy scenarios (2020–2039) demonstrate that the continuation of the existing management policies will cause severe damage to the water and energy sectors, pushing the system towards water resources limits to growth. An annual groundwater table decline of nearly 1 m is anticipated, indicating significant overshoot of the plain’s natural recharge capacity, which may lead to the depletion of recoverable groundwater in the plain within the next three decades. The groundwater table decline will cause energy consumption of water supply to increase by about 32% (i.e., 380 GWh) to maintain irrigated agriculture. It is critical to implement a combination of water demand and supply management policies (e.g., net agricultural water savings and recycling treated wastewater) to delay the problem of water limits to growth in the region.

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APA Citation

Naderi, M. M., Mirchi, A., Bavani, A. R. M., Goharian, E., & Madani, K. (2021). System dynamics simulation of regional water supply and demand using a food-energy-water nexus approach: Application to Qazvin Plain, Iran. Journal of Environmental Management, 280, 111843.