Author(s): Farhad Yazdandoost; Jalil Mobaraki
Linked Author(s): Farhad Yazdandoost
Keywords: Participatory Decision Making; Analytical Hierarchy Process; Urmia Lake; IWRM Approach
Abstract: Lake Urmia in the north-west of Iran is perceived to be a source of environmental, social and economical stability for the whole region. Unfortunately this important resource has been facing many challenges in recent years threatening its very existence. These challenges prevailing in the greater Urmia lake basin comprise: shortages of irrigation water (low irrigation efficiency), rapidly falling groundwater tables in many agricultural plains, saltwater intrusion from the lake, leading to the death of thousands of hectares of orchards, a continuous fall in lake level exposing up to 7.3 km width of shoreline, dramatic increase in salinity leading to salt crystallization, a collapse in the ecological communities in the lake (Artemia urmiana and flamingos), the loss and severe degradation of natural wetland habitats surrounding the lake including sites designated under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and decline in the availability and/or quality of the natural resources such as reeds, Artemia, salt, waterbirds for hunting and birdwatching and grazing lands. The need for integrated water resources management (IWRM) with optimum decision making for sustainable development of the basin has been recognised. Cross-sectoral interactions between water authorities, the agriculture section, the environment section and the socio-economical implications have to be considered. A major component of IWRM from the viewpoint of stakeholders has been identified and weighted. Using Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP), possible incompatibility of analysis and homogenization of weights are examined. Upon accumulation and integration of the relative weights, final weights of each index are extracted. These weights are further used for allocation of water resources for different purposes.