Evaluating the socio-hydrological dynamics of water reuse adoption by farmers using an agent based model
Thursday, August 5, 2021
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Masoud Negahban-Azar, Environmental Science and Technology, University of Maryland-College Park
Environmental Science and Technology, University of Maryland-College Park
Background/Question/Methods Climate change, population growth, rapid urbanization rates, high living standards, and industrialization have contributed to a global shortage of clean water supplies. Agriculture, as the primary food-producing sector and the largest water-consuming sector, is highly reliant on water availability. Agricultural water reuse is one of the long-term solutions to agricultural water scarcity. The aim of this study was to describe the agent-based model that was created to study the complex socio-hydrological framework of agricultural water reuse. Socio-hydrological systems are considered complex systems due to the different interactions, relationships, and dependencies between their components. This agent-based model was developed as an exploratory model for scenario analysis. In order to model agricultural water reuse dynamics, this model included two types of agents: farmers and wastewater treatment plants. The Theory of Planned Behavior and cognitive mapping were used to model farmers' decision-making. Farmers received recycled water from wastewater treatment plants.
Results/Conclusions This model was successfully applied in an agricultural watershed in California. According to the model results, agricultural water reuse could substantially (nearly by 50%) reduce the total amount of water scarcity and groundwater use in this case study. However, diffusion of innovations such as agricultural water reuse takes time and effort to spread widely among users. Therefore, for water reuse projects, it is necessary to consider the dynamics of water reuse adoption by users and plan them accordingly. Further planning is needed to meet the growing demand for water. Water resource decision-makers may use this exploratory model and its findings to gain valuable insight into the dynamics of water consumption and agricultural water reuse adoption, as well as to identify useful techniques for planning and managing agricultural water reuse practices.