Abstract for: Using System Dynamics to Scrutinize Behavioral Feedback Loops in Groundwater Management

The problem of groundwater depletion is a serious issue in many countries, including Iran. One of the adopted measures by Iran's government to address this problem has been limiting the number of permits for digging wells and defining forbidden plains. Yet, this policy has caused a progressive increase in the number of illegal wells. Although the solution to this problem seems obvious and the government should block the existing illegal wells and prevent digging new illegal wells, but this simple solution is not done. The question is why this obvious solution does not run to solve the problem, while the issue of over-withdrawal of groundwater is severe and can threaten the water and food security of the country in the near future? In this article, considering Iran's case and using the system dynamics approach, several behavioral feedback loops are introduced that can help us understand why this solution (blocking illegal wells) is not implemented. Simulation models show that farmers' resistance and the goal of being self-sufficient is the most affecting factor among those feedback loops.