Building a System Dynamics Model to Support Water Management: A Case Study of the Semiarid Region in the Brazilian Northeast

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de Araujo, Wanderbeg Correia
Oliveira Esquerre, Karla Patricia
Sahin, Oz
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In recent centuries, water consumption rates have more than doubled and the population growth rate is rising constantly. As a result, water scarcity is now one of the main problems to be faced, mainly in semiarid regions. In light of such a dilemma, this study aims to develop a system dynamics model in order to evaluate the water system in the semiarid region of the state of Paraíba-located in the Brazilian Northeast-and it focus on the following two issues: (1) measures that could have been taken with respect to the recent water crisis (2012-2017); (2) simulating water availability up to 2025. It was observed that, despite the options of in-demand management tools being efficient solutions for water scarcity in the short term (e.g., the influence of scarcity-based tariffs in reducing water use), such tools would not suffice in a context of severe drought within a water-providing system that depends heavily on rainfall. However, certain policies involving water-supply management (e.g., wastewater reuse and inter-basin water transfer) are very effective in maintaining water supply and avoiding a water collapse in the region. Furthermore, employing the Monte Carlo approach in simulating the system dynamic proved that the water supply is sensitive to scarcity-based tariffs, wastewater reuse, and inter-basin water transfer. An important advancement in this study was the simulation of a methodology for pricing that encourages rational use of water-based on its scarcity, which in turn increases revenue and investment in other water-management strategies.

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© The Author(s) 2019. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited

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Environmental sciences

Science & Technology

Physical Sciences

Water Resources

semi-arid region

water shortage

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de Araujo, WC; Oliveira Esquerre, KP; Sahin, O, Building a System Dynamics Model to Support Water Management: A Case Study of the Semiarid Region in the Brazilian Northeast, Water, 2019, 11 (12)