Author(s): Farhad Yazdandoost; Sogol Moradian
Linked Author(s): Farhad Yazdandoost
Keywords: Resilient risk management; Lakes; IWRM
Abstract: A procedure has been adopted to investigate the role of resilient risk management on decision/policy making in basins facing water scarcity. It comprises the use of an allocation model, as the central engine where water management scenarios and the effect of proposed developments on water resources may be investigated in an integrated manner based on sustainability criteria encompassing socio-economic and environmental characteristics of the basin. The proposed procedure has been utilised for the case of Lake Urmia basin. Lake Urmia, one of the largest saltwater lakes on earth and a highly endangered ecosystem, is on the brink of a major environmental disaster similar to the catastrophic death of the Aral Sea. Once with a surface area of approximately half a million hectares, Lake Urmia's shoreline has been receding severely with no sign of recovery, leading to a significant shrinkage in the lake's surface area currently decreased by around 88%. Considering no significant trend in the drought pattern, Lake Urmia's observed physiographic changes may be attributed to the aggressive hydro-economic development plans in the upstream provinces, which cause overallocation of Lake Urmia's inflows, irrigation projects and overuse of surface water and groundwater. A resilient approach has been incorporated in the procedure. Resistance is defined as the ability of a system to withstand a disturbance without any reaction, and resilience as the ability of a system to recover easily from a reaction to a disturbance. To make the resilience concept more tangible, indicators are defined and to quantify resilience, the aspects which give insight into the reaction of systems are studied and quantified. The results obtained from the proposed procedure indicates that adopting a resilient risk management approach would imply that, for instance for the critically important issue of agriculture, with possible grave social implications, the same outcomes for the lake’s water demand may be reached through far less reduction than the proposed 40%reduction in agricultural water allocation.