Sustainable Water Resources Management in an Arid Area Using a Coupled Optimization-Simulation Modeling

Siamak Farrokhzadeh, Seyed Arman Hashemi Monfared, Gholamreza Azizyan, Ali Sardar Shahraki, Maurits W. Ertsen, Edo Abraham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


Severe water scarcity in recent years has magnified the economic, social, and environmental significance of water stress globally, making optimal planning in water resources necessary for sustainable socio-economic development. One of the regions that is most affected by this is the Sistan region and its Hamoun wetland, located in south-east Iran. Water policies are essential to sustain current basin ecosystem services, maintaining a balance between conflicting demands from agriculture and the protection of wetland ecosystems. In the present study, a multi-objective optimization model is linked with the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) software to optimize water allocation decisions over multiple years. We formulate and parameterize a multi-objective optimization problem where the net economic benefit from agriculture and the supply of environmental requirements were maximized, to analyze the trade-off between different stakeholders. This problem is modeled and solved for the study area with detailed agricultural, socio-economic, and environmental data for 30 years and quantification of ecosystem services. By plotting Pareto sets, we investigate the trade-offs between the two conflicting objectives and evaluate a possible compromise. The results are analyzed by comparing purely economic versus multi-objective scenarios on the Pareto front. Finally, the disadvantages and advantages of these scenarios are also qualitatively described to help the decision process for water resources managers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number885
Number of pages26
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Cropping pattern optimization
  • Ecosystem services
  • Multi-objective optimization
  • Sustainable development
  • Water allocation
  • Water-food-ecosystem-land nexus


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