Agricultural water vulnerability in rural Iran
Water is an important factor of production and livelihood support in rural communities. Meanwhile, water shortage is a virtually common feature in many arid and semi-arid countries. It is also projected that water stress will be exacerbated in such regions because of climate change. The cumulative effects of these stressors can potentially increase agricultural water vulnerability (AWV). Therefore, assessing AWV is essential as the first step in identifying water management strategies and maintaining a stable water supply. Water vulnerability studies have mainly focused on the national scale and little is known about the farm level agricultural water vulnerabilities. Adopting a principal component analysis/fuzzy logic-based method, this study investigates the AWV of farmers. A survey of 335 farmers of Firuzabad County, selected through a simple random sampling technique, revealed different levels of water vulnerability, i.e. the least, intermediate and the most water vulnerable. The agricultural water vulnerable farmers were principally distinguished by various degrees of water resources, economics, social characteristics and institutions. Promotion of irrigation efficiency, financial support for vulnerable farmers, increasing farmers' capacity to participate in social activities, enhancing communication infrastructure and considering new governance structures and planning processes are offered to reduce AWV.