Strategies to sustainable management of groundwater resources in Romeshkan plain

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, Faculty of Agriculture, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran

2 Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Faculty of Agriculture, Lorestan University, Lorestan, Iran

3 Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, Faculty of Agriculture, Tarbiat Modares University (TMU), Tehran, Iran


Introduction: In Iran, out of 88.5 billion water resources, about 83 billion cubic meters or 93.5% is allocated to the agricultural sector and therefore agriculture is the largest consumer of water. Increasing population, increasing cultivation areas, and agricultural productions have increased the consumption of these resources. Eventually, increased consumption leads to a decrease in the water table and drainage of aquifers. Statistics show that many of the plains are currently in crisis. Romeshkan plain is one of the plains which has faced a significant reduction of resources in the recent decades. The purpose of this study was to develop the strategies for the sustainable management of water resources in this plain. Romeshkan plain is a forbidden plain, but there are still many exploitations in it. Crops are planted in this plain that need a lot of water. This research has
investigated the strategies of sustainable management of groundwater resources in Romeshkan plain using the
Fuzzy Delphi technique.
Material and methods: The present study is an applied and descriptive research (non-experimental). The statistical population included 28 faculty members, experts, and farmers in Khorramabad and Romeshkan. The sample size was estimated using the purposeful snowball sampling method. Secondary data were also obtained from government departments to identify and describe the Romeshkan plain. Data on water resources of Romeshkan plain were required.  These data show how much water resources have dwindled over the last three decades.
Results and discussion: The results showed that despite the criticality of the Romeshkan plain, the livelihood of rural communities is mainly dependent on the agricultural sector. Also, hydrophilic crops are widely cultivated. In this plain, the structure of supply and exploitation of water resources is traditional. The agricultural lands of this plain do not have a new irrigation system. The results of this research show five types of strategies (economic, technological, environmental, policy-oriented, and social). The priority of the strategies was "develop sustainable rural employment". This will certainly require "human development of water-related actors and empowerment of rural communities". "Developing the right technologies", which was another strategy, could also help reform the traditional structure of supply and consumption of these resources.
Conclusion: Now the conditions of Romeshkan plain are critical. The results of this study showed that sustainable management of groundwater resources in this plain will not be achieved solely based on technological strategies. Also, economic, social, policy-oriented and environmental strategies must also be considered. Reform of the water consumption structure should be considered in parallel with the development of non-agricultural employment. Because the development of employment reduces the pressure on these resources.


Adham Maleki, M., Khosravi Pour, B. and Soltani, F., 2021. Deterrents and promoters of participatory management of groundwater resources in the agricultural sector. Case study: Murghab plain, Khuzestan province. Geography and Human Relations. 3, 423-424 (In Persian with English abstract).
Afshar, A., Khosravi, M. and Molajo, A., 2019. Sustainable integrated use of water resources in agriculture: a cyclical storage approach. Iran Water Resources Research. 15 (4), 381-395(In Persian with English abstract).
Ali Ahmadi, A., Fathollah, M. and Tajuddin, A., 2009. Comprehensive View of Strategic Management. Knowledge Production Publishing, Tehran, Iran.
Alizadeh, A., 2012. Principles of Applied Hydrology, 36th ed. Imam Reza University Press, Mashhad, Iran.
Azizi Khalkheili, T., Bakhshi Jahromi, A. and Bijani, M., 2012. Soil conservative behavior of farmers: The role of information & communication media. Iranian Agricultural Extension and Education Journal. 7 (2), 51-61. (In Persian with English abstract).
Duarte Alonso, A. and Krajsic, V., 2015. The theory of planned behaviour, micro-growers and diversification: an exploratory study. Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy. 9 (2), 94-113.
Azizi, A., Ghorbani, A., Malekmohammadi, B. and Jafari, H. R., 2017. Government management and overexploitation of groundwater resources: absence of local community initiatives in Ardabil Plain-Iran. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. 60 (10), 1785-1808
Bahram Lou, R., 2018. Current status of groundwater resources and the role of agricultural operators in their sustainable use (Case study in Kaboudar Ahang and Malayer plains). Water management in agriculture. 4 (1), 29-38. (In Persian with English abstract).
Boroomandnia A., Bozorg-Haddad O., Pradhan B. and Datta A., 2021. GIS Application in Water Resource Management. Springer Water. 462, 125–152,
Bruns, B., 2021. Polycentric Solutions for Groundwater Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Encouraging Institutional Artisanship in an Extended Ladder of Participation. Water, 13(5), 630.
Budaghpour, S .and Kazemi, T., 2017. An overview of the types of drought, its causes and consequences. The Second International Conference on New Horizons in Agricultural Sciences, Natural Resources and Environment. Tehran. (In Persian with English abstract).
Chaudhry, S. and Garg, S., 2019. Smart Irrigation Techniques for Water Resource Management. In R. Poonia, X. Gao, L. Raja, S. Sharma, & S. Vyas (Ed.), Smart Farming Technologies for Sustainable Agricultural Development (pp. 196-219). IGI Global.
Danso-Abbeam, G., Dagunga, G. and Ehiakpor, D. S., 2020. Rural non-farm income diversification: Implications on smallholder farmers ‘welfare and agricultural technology adoption in Ghana. Heliyon, 6(11), e05393.
Delgado-Serranoa, M. M. and Borrego-Marin, M. M., 2019. Drivers of innovation in groundwater governance. The links between the social and the ecological systems. Land Use Policy, 19, 104368,
Eakin, H., York, A., Aggarwal, R., Waters, S., Welch, J., Rubiños, C., Smith-Heisters, S., Bausch, C. and Anderies, J. M., 2016. Cognitive and institutional influences on farmers’ adaptive capacity: Insights into barriers and opportunities for transformative change in central Arizona. Regional Environmental Change, 16(3), 801–814.
Fossati, Ela., Degavre, F. and Nyssens, M., 2017. How to deal with an “essentially contested concept” on the field? Sampling social innovations through the Delphi method. Uropean Public & Social Innovation Review (EPSIR), 2 (1), 45-58, DOI:
Gholamrezai, S. and Sepahvand, F., 2017. Farmers’ participation in water user association in western Iran. Journal of water and land development section of land reclamation and environmental engineering in agriculture, 35 (x–xii): 49–56, DOI: 10.1515/jwld-2017-0067
Ghose, B., Dhawan, H., Kulkarni, H., Aslekar, U., Patil, S., Ramachandrudu, M. V. et al., 2018. Peoples’ Participation for Sustainable Groundwater Management. In: Saha D., Marwaha S., Mukherjee A. (eds) Clean and Sustainable Groundwater in India. Springer Hydrogeology. Springer, Singapore.
Goodarzi, Z., Abbasi, E. and Farhadian, H., 2018. Achieving consensus Deal with Methodological Issues in the Delphi technique. International Journal of Agricultural Management and Development, 8(2), 219-230
Hashemi, S. M., Kinzig, A., Eakin, H., Abbott, J. K and Sedaghat, R., 2021. Developing a socio-psychological model explaining farmers’ income diversification in response to groundwater scarcity in Iran, International Journal of Water Resources Development, 38 (2), 283-305. DOI: 10.1080/07900627.2021.1879029.
Hossain, M.Z., 2021. Groundwater resource assessment using different hydrological methods and GIS techniques for Central Part of Bengal Delta. Sustain. Water Resour. Manag. 7( 19)
Jarar Oulidi, H., 2019. Technical framework: spatial data infrastructure for water. In book: Spatial Data on Water, DOI: 10.1016/B978-1-78548-312-7.50002-8
Kulkarni H., Joshi D., Aslekar U. and Patil S., 2021. Catalyzing Groundwater Governance through People’s Participation and Institutional Reform. In: Chadha G., Pandya A.B. (eds) Water Governance and Management in India. Water Resources Development and Management. Springer, Singapore.
Li, P., Qian, H. and Wu, J., 2018. Conjunctive use of groundwater and surface water to reduce soil salinization in the Yinchuan Plain, North-West China, International Journal of Water Resources Development, 34 (3), 337-353, DOI: 10.1080/07900627.2018.1443059
Linstone, H. A. and Turoff, M., 1975. Delphi Method: Techniques and Applications. Publication Book (Softbound), United States of America
Madhnure, P., Rao, P.N. and A. D. Rao., 2015. Establishing Strategies for Sustainable Groundwater Management Plan for Typical Granitic Aquifers-A Pilot Study near Hyderabad, India. Aquatic Procedia. 4, 1307-1314
Manzami, N., Sedighi, H. and. Valizadeh, N., 2016. Frequency of meteorological drought in Karkheh basin of Lorestan province. Iranian Journal of Irrigation and Drainage.6 (10). Pp. 731-741. (In Persian with English abstract).
McKenna, H. P., 1994. The Delphi technique: a worthwhile research approach for nursing? Journal of Advanced Nursing, 19(6), 1221–1225.
Méndez-Barrientos, L. E., DeVincentis, A., Rudnick, J., Dahlquist-Willard, R., Lowry, B. and Gould, K., 2020. Farmer Participation and Institutional Capture in Common-Pool Resource Governance Reforms. The Case of Groundwater Management in California. Society & Natural Resources, 33 (12), 1486-1507, DOI: 10.1080/08941920.2020.1756548
Nazemia, N., Foleyb, R W., Garrick, L. and Withycombe K, L., 2020. Divergent agricultural water governance scenarios: The case of Zayanderud basin, Iran. Agricultural Water Management, 229, 446-455
Piyapong, J., Thidarat, B., Jaruwan, C., Siriphan, N. and Passanan, A., 2019. Enhancing citizens' sense of personal responsibility and risk perception for promoting public participation in sustainable groundwater resource management in Rayong Groundwater Basin, Thailand. Groundwater for Sustainable Development, 9.
Water Affairs of Romeshkan Township., 2020. Report of Groundwater resources in Romeshkan Township. Unpublished, Lorestan, Romeshkan Township (In Persian with English abstract).
Sadeghi, A., Bijani, M. and Farhadian, H., 2020. The Mediating Role of Farmers’ Time Perspective in Water Resources Exploitation Behaviour in the Eastern Area of Lake Urmia, Iran: An Environmental-Psychological Analysis. Water and Environment Journal. 34 (Supplement S1), 106-120.
Samani, S., 2020. Analyzing the Groundwater Resources Sustainability Management plan in Iran through Comparative Studies. Groundwater for Sustainable Development. 12
Sampathkumar, K. M., Ramasamy, S., Ramasubbu, B., Karuppanan, S. and Lakshminarayanan, B., 2021. Hybrid optimization model for conjunctive use of surface and groundwater resources in water deficit irrigation system. Water Sci Technol, 84 (10-11), 3055–3071.Doi:
Sarmad, Z., Bazargan, A. and Hejazi, E., 2019. The book of research methods in behavioral sciences. Publication in aghah Sciences. (In Persian with English abstract).
Senger, I., Borges, J. A. R. and Machado, J. A. D., 2017. Using the theory of planned behavior to understand the intention of small farmers in diversifying their agricultural production. Journal of Rural Studies, 49, 32–40.
Sepahvand, F. and Nadery Mahdiei, K., 2021. Solutions for Development of Rural Areas with Emphasis on Diversifying the Economy in Nahavand County of Iran. Village and Development, 24(2), 1-32. doi: 10.30490/rvt.2020.320580.1133 (In Persian with English abstract).
Sepahvand, F., Gholamrezai, S. and Rahimian, M., 2018. Solutions to Enhance the Farmers’ Participation in Water Users Associations (WUAs) in Lorestan Province, Iran. International Journal of Agricultural Management and Development (IJAMAD), 9(3).
Shekhar S. Kumar, S., Sinha, R., Gupta, S., Densmore, A. et al., 2018. Efficient Conjunctive Use of Surface and Groundwater Can Prevent Seasonal Death of Non-Glacial Linked Rivers in Groundwater Stressed Areas. In: Saha D., Marwaha S., Mukherjee A. (eds) Clean and Sustainable Groundwater in India. Springer Hydrogeology. Springer, Singapore.
Shirzadi Leskoklayeh, S., Saboohi, M., Davari, K. and Kikhah, A. A., 2018. The effect of irrigation water pricing policy on the groundwater level of Neishabour catchment. Agricultural Economics Research. 3 (10) 187-220(In Persian with English abstract).
Shojaat Zare, H. M., Saboohi, M., Ahmadpour, M. and Mohaddes, S. A., 2018. Investigating the effect of price and investment policies on water-saving technologies on the deficit of groundwater reservoirs and social costs in Khorasan Razavi province. Agricultural Economics .12 (3) .97-133(In Persian with English abstract).
Shokouhi, S. and Afrazeh, A., 2014. Design of Nanotechnology Technology Transfer Model in Iran by Fuzzy Delphi Method, Technology Development Quarterly, 11 (41) (In Persian with English abstract).
Shokati Amghani, M, Kalantari, K., Asadi, A and. HS Fami. (2018) Investigating The Effective Factors on Land Dispersion and Fragmentation in East Azarbayjan Province.Iranian Journal of Agricultural Economics and Development Research, 49(3) (In Persian with English abstract).
Sikka, A. K., Faiz Alam, M. and Pavelic, P., 2021. Managing groundwater for building resilience for sustainable agriculture in South Asia, Irrigation & Drainage, 70 (3), 560-573.
Sinead, K., Hasson, F. and McKenn, H., 2001. A critical review of the Delphi technique as a research methodology for nursing. International Journal of Nursing Studies 38. 195-200 (00)00044-4
Smith, M., K. Cross, M. Paden and P. Laban., 2016. Spring managing groundwater sustainability. Published by IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, Switzerland. DOI: 2016.WANI.8.en
Song, J., Yang, Y., Sun, X., Lin, J., Wu, M. and Wu, J., 2020. Basin-scale multi-objective simulation-optimization modeling for conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater in northwest China. Hydro. Earth Syst. Sci., 24, 2323–2341.
Zagade, N.D. and Umrikar, B.N., 2021. Drought severity modeling of upper Bhima river basin, western India, using GIS–AHP tools for effective mitigation and resource management. Nat Hazards 105, 1165–1188.
Zalikhaei Siar, L., Naderi Mehdi, K and Movahedi, R., 2019. Designing a model for sustainable agricultural water management using the DPSIR model (Case study of Hamadan province). Agricultural Knowledge and Sustainable Production 29 (4), 247-267(In Persian with English abstract).