The Minab plain water-related spatial planning; a system dynamics approach

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Geography, Faculty of Humanities, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


Lack of fresh water resources to meet water demand has been being looked on as a main challenge of dryland countries in the world. Iran is also suffering from the issue in particular at its sothern regions connecting to the sea. One of the main option on the table to tackle the problem is water demand management has been bolded in Iran as water-related spatial planning scheme. As a result, in term of the water supply, the Minab plain is one of the most important region of the Hormozgan province in Iran and various economic sectors of the plain have been facing with many problems due to the lack of access to water resources. It is manifested by partial or no satisfaction of expressed demand, economic competition for water quantity or quality, disputes between users, irreversible depletion of groundwater, and negative impacts on the environment. In this regard, one of the most important policy option picked up to reduce these problems is the water-related spatial planning. Such approach focuses on spatial relationships and has been considered as an effective way to integrate economic, social and environmental programs into spatial development (Davies and Simonovic, 2011); In that piece, each region spatial organization crystallizes the flow and pattern of communication between different sectors in the region. But the traditional spatial planning approach, in terms of analysis, has been confining to tools such as GIS suffering from being mostly static and nonlinear.
Material and methods:
The main idea of the paper is that in water-related spatial planning studies, in addition to the traditional view, it is necessary to pay more attention to the system thinking so that the pattern of communication between different economic, social and environmental sectors could be related to water resources in dynamically and nonlinearly manner over time (Davies and Simonovic, 2011). Thus, in the present study, the given mechanism governing the important parts interacting with the water resources of the Minab plain as the spatial organization has been mapped through system dynamics principles, drawing a system mechanism. System dynamics is efficient knowledge to map and analysis following interactions among spatial organization attributes (Sterman, 2000).
Results and discussion:
Causal Loop Diagrams (CLDs) consisting of two kinds of Reinforcing and Balancing loops are being considered as the base of realizing structure of a system. In fact, the paper initiates to consider the spatial organization as a system to draw efficient policy options and discover complex interactions through it. That’s referred to the main principle of SD implying on structure of a system as a main reason responsible for its behavior. As result if we are going to analysis a spatial organization, considering it as a system, we need first to realize just its structure. To discover the structure, CLDs tool has been being introduced in SD (Richmond, 1993).
Finally, apart from conventional policies around water supply, two policies based on water demand management approach have been extracted and discussed based on the performance of the given mechanism to maintain the spatial organization equilibrium of the Minab plain.


  1. Akbari,Y., Imani Jajromi, H. and Rostamali,V.A., 2016. Analysis and evaluation of barriers in the spatial planning of Iran. Science and Technology Policy, pp.13-5,(3)06, (In Persian).
  2. Albrechts, L., Healey, P. and Kunzmann, K.R., 2003. Strategic spatial planning and regional governance in Europe. Journal of the American Planning Association, 69(2), pp.113-129.
  3. Arab, D., Sohrabi, H., Hooshyar, M. and Elyas, A., 2017. Conjunctive management of surface and groundwater under severe drought: A case study in southern Iran. arXiv preprint arXiv:1709.01654.
  4. Bagheri, A. and Hjorth, P., 2007. A framework for process indicators to monitor for sustainable development: practice to an urban water system. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 9(2), pp.143-161.
  5. Bazrafshan, O., Moradi, M. and Farokhzadeh, B., 2017. Evaluation of Interpolation Techniques for the Salinity of Groundwater in Wet and Dry Seasons (Case Study: Minab Plain, South Coast of Iran). Journal of Hydrosciences and Environment. P.62-69
  6. Burgalassi, D. and Luzzati, T., 2015. Urban spatial structure and environmental emissions: A survey of the literature and some empirical evidence for Italian NUTS 3 regions. Cities, 49, pp.134-148.
  7. Clifford Holmes, J.K., Slinger, J.H., Musango, J.K., Brent, A.C. and Palmer, C.G., 2014. Using system dynamics to explore the water supply and demand dilemmas of a small South African municipality. In 32nd International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, Delft, The Netherlands, 20-24 July 2014; Authors version. System Dynamics Society.
  8. Davies, E.G. and Simonovic, S.P., 2011. Global water resources modeling with an integrated model of the social–economic–environmental system. Advances in water resources, 34(6), pp.684-700.
  9. De Roo, G. and Hillier, J., 2016. Spatial planning, complexity and a world ‘out of equilibrium’: outline of a non-linear approach to planning. In Complexity and planning (pp. 159-194). Routledge.
  10. Fidelis, T. and Roebeling, P., 2014. Water resources and land use planning systems in Portugal—Exploring better synergies through Ria de Aveiro. Land use policy, 39, pp.84-95.
  11. Forrester, J. W., 1961. Industrial dynamics. cambrige, MA: MITPress 48(10): 1037-1041.
  12. Garcia-Lopez, M.-À., 2012. Urban spatial structure, suburbanization and transportation in Barcelona. Journal of Urban Economics 72(2): 176-190.
  13. Hosseinzadeh, M.M. and Nohegar, A., 2011. Studying the Effect of Drought on Water Resources over Two Decades and Occurrences of the Sinking Phenomenon in Minab Plain. pp,75-98.
  14. Klapka, P., Frantal, B., Halas, M. and Kunc, J., 2010. Spatial organisation: development, structure and approximation of geographical systems. Moravian geographical reports, 18(3), pp.53-65.
  15. Minab plain recunstruction report., 2017 Second edition. water resources management corporation of Minab. (In Persian).
  16. Minab plain water balance., 2012. Management of basic water resources studies. (In Persian).
  17. Morphet, J., 2010. Effective practice in spatial planning, Routledge.
  18. Radianti, J., Tasrif, M. and Rostiana, E., 2003. A Dynamic Model for Spatial Planning in Metropolitan Areas1. In International Conference of the System Dynamics Society (pp. 1-27).
  19. Rezaii, p. and Zamani rad.M., 2014. Functional assessment of minab river water quality in hormozgan province. amiemt. Applied mathematics in Engineering, Management and Technology, 2 (6):204-210
  20. Richmond, b., 1993. System thinking: acitical set of critical thinking skills for the 90's and beyond. 13 dartmouth college Zhighway. System Dynamics Review Vol. 9, no. 2 (Summer 1993):113-133
  21. Rudyanto, A. Suhardjono., 2016. Dynamics system modelling of sustainable water resources managment due to the regional spstial (case study on batam island of riau island, indooneia). Basic and Applied. 6(2)15-23
  22. Sadegi.M , Shahbazbegian.M.R, and, 2014. System analysis Effective mechanisms on sustainability of Sistan province against aridity whit emphasis on spatial planning. The fifth conference Iran water resources management,Tehran, Iranian Water Resources Association, Shahid Beheshti university, Persian)
  23. Shahbazbegian, M.R., Turton, A. and Mousavi Shafaee, S.M., 2016. Hydropolitical Self-Organization theory; system dynamics to analyse hydropolitics of Helmand trans-boundary river. Water Policy, 18(5), pp.1088-1119.
  24. Shakouie.H., 2006. NEW trends in philosophy of geography. Organization for the Study and Compilation of Humanities Books of Universities (Samt publication),Tehran. (In Persian)
  25. Sterman, J.D., 2000. Business dynamics: systems thinking and modeling for a complex world (No. HD30. 2 S7835 2000).
  26. Tong, S.T. and Chen, W., 2002. Modeling the relationship between land use and surface water quality. Journal of environmental management, 66(4), pp.377-393.
  27. Wegener, M., 2001. New spatial planning models. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation 3(3): 224-237.