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Agricultural Water Poverty Index for a Sustainable World

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Farming for Food and Water Security

Part of the book series: Sustainable Agriculture Reviews ((SARV,volume 10))

Abstract

Water is a major constraint to development of all countries with low water access, especially those located in arid and semi-arid areas with heavy dependence on agriculture. Water scarcity due to long-term droughts, increased demand, and mismanagement of the available water resources has threaten the sustainability of agricultural development. The need of more food production for growing population drives the agricultural sector to manage the water resources in a sustainable way. Water sustainability encompasses different dimensions which need to be addressed clearly by appropriate indices. The Agricultural Water Poverty Index as an assessment tool measures the level of agricultural water poverty as the most important construct that influences agricultural water management. It encompasses a variety of water-related aspects including availability and access to water resources, capacities to manage available water usage and finally environmental factors affecting availability of water resources. Each aspect needed to be translated into practical and subtle indicators to demonstrate what it is intended to measure, and also to jointly measure the Agricultural Water Poverty Index. Accurately and reasonable selection of indicators needs to apply a suitable framework which increases scientific credibility of water assessment.

This report develops indicators of Agricultural Water Poverty for assessing the agricultural water situation at farm level. To reach this goal, firstly different current conceptual frameworks suggested to frame the indicator selection process, including causal chain, hierarchical, and integrated framework, are shortly described and criticized. This review reveals that as the causal chain frameworks were improved over time, due to introducing the additional concepts and lack of clear agenda to build such models, the development of their structures has become complicated. Although the hierarchical frame is more simplified, it includes general concepts which are not robust enough to identify practical and useful indicators. Thus, our report focuses on using the Integrated Causal Network and Ecological Hierarchy Network framework to develop the indicators of Agricultural Water Poverty, because it encompasses all the special issues which may be the concern of indicator construction. To modify this framework a conceptual path to develop the indicators of Agricultural Water Poverty is offered, in which a sequence of steps are proposed. This conceptual path leads to the construction of abstract and concrete indicators of Agricultural Water Poverty and applies a quantitative method (Binary Integer Programming) for selecting the final indicators. An Analytic Hierarchy Process is conducted to assign indicator weights and the model criteria requirements are considered. Finally, a total of 25 indicators are determined by translating the requirements into quantitative constraints and resolving the model.

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Abbreviations

AWP:

Agricultural Water Poverty

AWPI:

Agricultural Water Poverty Index

AHP:

Analytic Hierarchy Process

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Acknowledgements

Part of this paper was completed during a fellowship study at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden/Amsterdam, Netherlands. This research was supported in part by the Iran National Drought Research Institute, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran under grant No. 333PG.

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Correspondence to Masoumeh Forouzani .

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Forouzani, M., Karami, E., Zibaei, M., Zamani, G.H. (2012). Agricultural Water Poverty Index for a Sustainable World. In: Lichtfouse, E. (eds) Farming for Food and Water Security. Sustainable Agriculture Reviews, vol 10. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4500-1_6

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