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Agricultural viability in a water-deficit basin : can participatory modelling and design activities trigger collaboration between water management and agriculture stakeholders?

Abstract : Some hydro-systems are in structural water deficit: human water uses are too high to allow a good ecological status of aquatic ecosystems. The Adour-Garonne watershed (116.000 km2, South-West France) is emblematic of such situations, with recurring occurrence of quantitative water management crises due to high agricultural withdrawals during the low flow period. Since opportunities to store more water is limited, authorities require the agricultural sector to reduce its demand, which results in a conflicting situation as irrigation is a key production factor for farming systems in this area. Our study is embedded in the governance challenge of conciliating water resources protection and economic viability of agriculture by re-thinking agricultural land use in interaction with both agricultural land managers (i.e. mainly farmers) and water managers. Our objective was to design and assess alternative agro-hydrosystem (i.e. new cropping systems and/or new distribution of cropping systems over fields and new water resource management strategies). We developed a problem-oriented approach based on a variety of modeling methods and on the participation of actors. We used models to integrate local knowledge with scientific and statistical information in order to specify the problem (system and question) and then formalize the proposed alternatives. We then used their computational potential to simulate the consequences of designed alternatives on a complex system, with precise spatial and temporal insight on a 10-15 years’ time horizon, taking into account the climate variability. This communication describes the participatory process that allowed two groups of local stakeholders in opposition to each design alternatives for water management strategies and cropping systems, specifying the spatial, economic, organizational and technical constraints of their implementation. The groups involved farmer representatives on one hand and representatives of the aquatic environments law on the other hand. We present a formalized alternative from each group and discuss their potential to prevent quantitative water management crisis, and to be integrated into a consensual one.
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  • HAL Id : hal-02738708, version 1
  • PRODINRA : 271502

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Clément Murgue, Olivier Therond, Delphine Burger-Leenhardt. Agricultural viability in a water-deficit basin : can participatory modelling and design activities trigger collaboration between water management and agriculture stakeholders?. 11. European IFSA Symposium: Farming Systems Facing Global Challenges: Capacities and Strategies., International Farming Systems Association (IFSA). AUT., Apr 2014, BERLIN, Germany. ⟨hal-02738708⟩

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