عنوان مقاله [English]
Background and Objectives: The occurrence of climate change and its impact on surface water and groundwater resources, along with inappropriate management of water resources have led to an increase in the social and environmental vulnerability of river systems. Assessing the vulnerability of river basins, especially in developing countries such as Iran is essential and is considered as one of the main priorities of the water resources planners for the sustainable management of these resources and for the formulating of policies consistent with the regional conditions. In this line, this paper focuses on the assessment of the vulnerability of the Jarahi River Basin.
Materials and Methods: The study area of this research, the Jarahi River Basin, with an area of about 24000 square kilometers is located in southwest of Iran with a population of about 870000 people. In this research, the River Basin Vulnerability (RBV) method was used to assess the vulnerability of the Jarahi River Basin. This method examines the vulnerability of ecosystem and human simultaneously and consists of a total of six main indicators including ‘governance’, ‘economic status’, ‘social condition’, ‘environment’, ‘water stress’, and ‘natural hazards’ indicators. In this method, data are evaluated quantitatively. The combination of these indicators is based on a raster summation algorithm which can be carried out in the ArcGIS platform.
Results: The anlysis shows that the vulnerability of the Jarahi River Basin corresponding to each of the indicators of governance, enconomic status, social condition, environment, hazards and water stress are 0.76, 0.41, 0.061, 0.43, 0.44 and 0. 84, respectively. The results exhibit that the Jarahi River Basin is severely threatened by natural hazards, and in particular, the flood hazard threatens all parts of the river basin. It is also exposed to high water stress. The highest water stress (0.76) associated with Shadegan sub-basin that is located in the southern part of the basin. In addition, Saiddon sub basin has the lowest literacy rate among the sub basin of the Jarahi River Basin with the rate of 79%. A significant part of the Shadeghan sub-basin exhibits considerable environmental impacts, interpreted as a discernible sign of human footprints in the area.
Conclusions: Generally, in the Jarahi River Basin, the vulnerability of three indicators, namely "governance", "water stress", and "natural hazards"are quite significant. In particular, flood assessment analysis shows that almost all the river basin is highly susceptible to flood hazard. Also, seismic hazard threatens a considerable portion of Behbahan and Takht-E Deraz sub-basins. The results regarding the water stress show that almost half of the basin (mostly Shadegan sub-basin) suffers from high water stress. Through controlling corruption, improving Iran’s political stability status and reducing the government fragility index, an improvement in the governence indicator can be achieved. Concerning the water stress indicator, given that the excessive use of water in the agriculture sector is mostly responsible for the high vulnerability state, changing the current land-use and accordingly the cropping pattern in the Jarahi River Basin will potentially have a positive impact on water stress indicator.Moreover, regarding the natural hazards, given the high potential of drought, flood, and earthquake occurrences in the research area,it is possible to somewhat reduce the incurred damages caused by these phenomena in the river basin by means of paying due attention to knowledge, awareness, planning and efficient management.