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New Mexico State University (2021)

Systems Modeling for Sustainable Water Resources Management and Agricultural Development

Bai, Yining

Titre : Systems Modeling for Sustainable Water Resources Management and Agricultural Development

Auteur : Bai, Yining

Université de soutenance : New Mexico State University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) in Biology 2021

The sustainability of agriculture has been affected by water use determined by the complexity and integration of environmental, social, and economic functions. The gradual transition from merely physics-based hydrologic modeling to applying more holistic modeling indicates a paradigm shift toward social-hydrological modeling, supporting sustainable management decisions. The integration of hydrologic processes and human impacts in systems modeling can illustrate the impacts of climate change in water supply and the response of human-managed water systems to it. This dissertation contributed to applying a quantitative, aggregated modeling approach for long-term sustainability of New Mexico water use and management using system dynamics simulation and analysis. The dissertation had three different papers to support its goal. The first paper demonstrated how climate change impacts the irrigation supply downstream of a head-water watershed in Water planning regions of New Mexico are used as case studies. The second paper advanced understanding of the relationship between agricultural water demand and its associated factors by accounting for population growth and economic development as endogenous variables in an efficiency-oriented policy scenario. The third paper defined natural capital by assessing agricultural water and ecological footprint based on agricultural water and land uses and evaluated agriculture’s depletion to natural capital and agriculture’s potentials targeting long-term sustainability. This dissertation demonstrated the importance and necessity of, and a basis for, incorporating into water management research : climate change, human dimensions, and agroecosystem components, such as precipitation and temperature pattern shift, population growth, agriculture’s share in the economy, and close interactions between ecosystems and agricultural systems. Climate changes may cause earlier and reduced snowmelt runoff that suggest reducing water supply to downstream irrigators. Multi-dimensional performance analysis suggested that increased irrigation efficiency may have unintended consequences such as decreased hydrologic connectivity and increased agricultural water demand, and negative economic impacts. Subsidies, technologies, and management strategy packages in the future could contribute to long-term agricultural sustainability. The evaluation of natural capital based on agricultural land and water use indicated that agriculture in the Lower Rio Grande Planning region had decreasing water and ecological footprints. Reduced decoupling between footprints and the agricultural economy illustrated the need for efficient investment in resource input and local support for agriculture, e.g., improved land productivity management and groundwater management.


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Page publiée le 5 décembre 2021