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Title: A socio-technical assessment framework for integrated water resources management (IWRM) in Lake Urmia Basin, Iran
Author: Hasemi, Mukhtar
ISNI:       0000 0004 2730 1399
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2011
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The main aim of this interdisciplinary research is to develop a socio-technical and institutional framework for implementing the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) paradigm by analysing how water resources can be managed in response to anthropogenic drivers (e.g. population/economic growth) and environmental pressures (e.g. climate change) within an evolving institutional set-up. Implementation of the Framework has focussed on Iran, and Lake Urmia basin as a case study, which involved a significant element of action research based upon stakeholder participation. Lack of implementation of concepts such as IWRM has been attributed to the gap between technical outcomes and policy decisions. To achieve an integrated synthesis for this interdisciplinary study, the integrated methodological framework has used four analytical components based on the IWRM concept: (1) Driver-Pressure-State-Impact Response (DPSIR); (2) Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD); (3) Integrated Socio-technical Assessment (ISTA) using modelling and Multi criteria Decision-Making (MCDA) tools; and (4) Ethics to assess water allocation decision outcomes in multitier Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MSPs). Results from the case study show that the non-structural responses (legislations, new administrations etc.) adopted since 2003 have not guaranteed the implementation of sustainable water allocation outcomes in river basins including Lake Urmia basin. Water allocation has become highly political and caused polarisation in opinions and multiple perspectives among stakeholders underlined by diverging discourses on climate change, water and land development and irrigation water use efficiency. The participatory water allocation decision reached for Lake Urmia Basin, which included an allocation to sustain the hydrological and ecological functions of the Lake, has been re-evaluated by analysing historical climatic and hydrologic data. The outcome suggests that water availability in the basin is less than that adopted by the stakeholders based on trend analysis within the existing discourse. Therefore, the thesis demonstrates a mechanism for adaptive water allocation and demand management under an uncertain future climate which is represented through rainfall scenarios generated using a stochastic rainfall model. It is concluded that the participatory process has enhanced the efficacy of the water governance system, but the effectiveness of water allocation will be compromised unless an adaptive water allocation approach is implemented, and basin-wide water use efficiency measures are taken. It is recommended that modern day water and land governance has to take into account the ethical and cultural aspects of the community to form an alliance for sustainable resource use; thus, an Ethical legal framework for community-based land and water governance has been proposed. The overall integrated methodological approach provides an innovative analytical framework to understand the discursive deliberations in a complex Social-Ecological system heightened by (1) scientific uncertainty over climate variability and change; and (2) dynamic institutional transformation and evolution.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Office of Applied Research ; Iran Water Resources Management Company
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available