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Groundwater governance and implementing the conservation policy: the case study of Rafsanjan Plain in Iran

Abstract

The groundwater system in the Rafsanjan aquifer perpetuated sustainably for decades before 1950s; however, its groundwater resources have been overexploited in the recent decades. In this paper, we aim to investigate the water governance system to understand the reasons behind the ongoing overexploitation. Sustainability processes are considered a policy implementation problematic. As such, we employ the contextual interaction theory as a policy implementation framework to assess the groundwater governance as part of the context for the conservation policy. Data for this qualitative research were gathered from legal texts, articles, technical reports, and multiple interviews with authorities and groundwater users. The assessment results revealed that the poor quality of the governance system is central to the ineffectiveness of the conservation policies. Findings of this paper can be relied on to devise tools to underpin an appropriate context to sustain groundwater resources.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Groundwater Management Advisory Team.

  2. 2.

    According to Kerman Regional Water Company (http://www.krrw.ir).

  3. 3.

    https://goo.gl/RW2ZZj.

  4. 4.

    Head of IWRMC regarding the inattention to the groundwater resources said “… the reason behind this issue, has been the management problems… lack of attention to social issues has led us to this point now”. (refer to www.magiran.com/n3686477).

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to appreciate comments from Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Hans Bressers, Gül Özerol and Ali Mirchi on the earlier versions of this paper. The field exploration in the Rafsanjan study area was carried out under the kind support of Iran Water Policy Research Institute, the support of which is highly acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Ali Bagheri.

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Mirnezami, S.J., de Boer, C. & Bagheri, A. Groundwater governance and implementing the conservation policy: the case study of Rafsanjan Plain in Iran. Environ Dev Sustain 22, 8183–8210 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-019-00488-0

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Keywords

  • Governance
  • Groundwater
  • Conservation policy
  • Rafsanjan aquifer
  • Contextual interaction theory
  • Policy implementation