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Economic and Social Impacts of Groundwater Overdraft: The Case of Iran


  • Gholamreza Soltani

    () (Shiraz University, Iran)

  • Mahmood Saboohi


Excessive withdrawal of groundwater for irrigation raises the issue of the sustainability of irrigated agriculture in many MENA countries. The objective of this paper is to determine the magnitude of groundwater overdraft and its external costs in Iran. Both quantitative and qualitative impacts of groundwater overdraft are estimated. Optimal control models are used to determine the optimal use of groundwater considering the social cost of groundwater overuse. Assessing the impact of groundwater overdraft shows a gloomy picture — of groundwater resource depletion in the study areas. The findings imply a trade-off between meeting immediate population demand for food and the sustainability of groundwater based farming. For a country like Iran, using foreign exchange earnings to save its vital groundwater resources may be considered a wise investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Gholamreza Soltani & Mahmood Saboohi, 2009. "Economic and Social Impacts of Groundwater Overdraft: The Case of Iran," Working Papers 479, Economic Research Forum, revised Mar 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:479

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