Event date:
Aug 3 2023 3:00 pm

A Framework for Socio-hydrological Assessment of Water Allocation Schemes

Dr. Abubakr Muhammad
Wasim Hasan
EE Reading Room, SBASSE Building (2nd floor)
PhD Thesis defense


Many water allocation mechanisms are used throughout the world to ensure equity and reliability among the consuming population in the face of water scarcity. In this thesis a framework for socio-hydrological assessment of water allocation mechanisms is presented. This thesis proposes a characterization of widely implemented water allocation mechanisms into three canonical types (priority-based, uniform and hybrid allocation) based on the adequacy distribution across individual users. We evaluate the performance of each type of water allocation mechanism in terms of equity and reliability. These performance measures vary depending on the adequacy distribution that is encountered as a result of the selected allocation mechanism. We also determine the performance limits for each type of allocation scheme.

To explore the priority-based water allocation mechanisms, we propose a demand-based water allocation scheme for surface water coupled with an auction-based pricing mechanism. This scheme fall under the category of priority-based allocation mechanism. We compare the proposed scheme with the currently practiced water distribution mechanism in IBIS (Indus Basin Irrigation system) by conducting a pilot study. Our simulations suggest that under certain realistic assumptions, the proposed mechanism leads to a more efficient allocation of surface water, resulting in lower exploitation of groundwater resources and potentially higher agricultural yield due to improved water availability. We also investigate uniform allocation schemes through socio-hydrological assessment of a uniform supply-based water allocation mechanism  used in large irrigation systems like Indus Basin Irrigation system (IBIS). Our results indicate that there is notable potential to improve irrigation performance through policy interventions in allocation scheme. In pursuit of finding an optimal water allocation scheme and to explore hybrid allocation schemes we also propose a demand-driven allocation scheme that incorporates an initial entitlement for each farmer to ensure equitable water allocation. Results from exhaustive numerical simulations show that the proposed hybrid mechanism compared to priority-based allocation scheme improves performance with respect to socio-hydrological metrics such as equity, reliability, compliance and consistency.

We believe that the presented categorization and corresponding analysis in the thesis may prove helpful in the design of allocation mechanisms. Although in this thesis we focus on the allocation of water for irrigation systems, the results are also relevant for other applications where decisions are made on physical allocation of limited resources.

Journal Publications:

1. Wasim Hassan, Talha Manzoor, Abubakr Muhammad, “Improving Equity in Demand-Driven Irrigation Systems through a Rights-Preserving Water Allocation Mechanism”, Agricultural Water Management, accepted, July 2023.

2. Wasim Hassan, Talha Manzoor, Hassan Jaleel, Abubakr Muhammad, “Demand-based water allocation in irrigation systems using mechanism design: A case study from Pakistan", Agricultural Water Management, vol. 256, p. 107075, Oct 2021.

3. Wasim Hassan, Talha Manzoor, Abubakr Muhammad, “Performance Limits for Water Allocation Mechanisms”, Water Resources Research, under review.

Conference Publications (Full-length Peer-Reviewed Papers):

4. Wasim Hassan, Talha Manzoor, Hassan Jaleel, Abubakr Muhammad, "A VCG Mechanism for Demand Management of Irrigation Systems." IFAC-PapersOnLine 53.2 (2020): 16555-16560. Proceedings of 21st IFAC World Congress, Berlin, Germany, 11–17 July 2020.

5. Ilyas, Ansir,  Wasim Hassan, Talha Manzoor, Abubakr Muhammad. "Towards Regulating Consumption in a Socio-hydrological Model for Groundwater Extraction." IFAC-PapersOnLine 52.23 (2019): 94-100. Proceedings of 1st IFAC Workshop on Control Methods for Water Resource Systems CMWRS 2019 Delft, Netherlands, 19–20 September 2019.

Meeting details (MS Teams): 

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