An Agent-based Framework for Transition from Traditional to Advanced Water Supply Systems in Arid Regions

Mohammad Sadegh Khorshidi, Azizallah Izady*, Mohammad Reza Nikoo, Ali Al-Maktoumi, Mingjie Chen, Amir H. Gandomi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The poor performance of traditional surface irrigation systems has motivated a transition to more advanced and efficient irrigation systems, especially in arid areas. However, such a transition often results in some local conflicts between the decision-makers and farmers in fear of losing their original water rights. This study proposes an agent-based modeling (ABM) framework to evaluate the suitability of this transition for modernizing traditional surface irrigation systems. A Conditional Value-at-Risk (CVaR) optimization model was first developed to determine the optimal water allocation scheduling for the current surface irrigation system. An ABM was then developed to model and optimize the evolution of surface irrigation systems towards advanced irrigation systems considering the interactions among agents and their environment. The proposed ABM framework was applied for modernizing several agricultural zones with multi-crop and intercropping systems and a variable water supply source in Muscat, Oman. Results suggest that using the advanced irrigation system in dry, normal, and wet conditions decreases the percentage of water shortage in 5% of worst cases from 87%, 75%, and 32% (under the traditional irrigation system) to 30%, 9%, and 0%, respectively. It was also found that the overall irrigation efficiency of the study area is increased from 48 to 92% in all agricultural zones. Although the transition from surface to modern water allocation systems is time-consuming and expensive, the proposed framework can facilitate this transition and enhance the water resource planning and management in areas with limited water availability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2565-2579
Number of pages15
JournalWater Resources Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Agent-based modeling
  • Al-Aswad falaj
  • Conditional value-at-risk
  • Irrigation systems
  • Multi-objective optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology

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