Evaluating the Effects of Lake Urmia’s Drought on Resilience Changes in Rural Settlements

Document Type : علمی


1 University of Bonab

2 University of Mohaghegh Ardabili


Extended abstract
Drought as a natural disaster has inflicted material and spiritual damages to mankind and has challenged the life and civilization of human societies with serious challenges. Today, many of the human settlements have direct dependence on climatic factors, particularly drought, and this dependence is more significant in rural communities. While by adopting measures, it is possible to reduce the risk appetite of communities such as rural communities in the face of such incidents. One of the concepts that has been considered in minimizing the risks in rural areas is resiliency. The concept of resilience is the result of the evolution management of risk and seeks to understand the way of influencing the social, economic, institutional, structural, political, and physical capacities against a variety of hazards of human communities. Lake Urmia has begun to dry up in the last two decades and has lost nearly 90 percent of its area. This phenomenon has led to a lot of damages to villages and reduced their ability to survive.
Experts believe that living in the context of natural risks is not necessarily harmful, but the lack of resilience and the level of knowledge and understanding of the population about the treatment and risk may cause damage. That is the reason of the significant and global changes in the attitude toward risk; hence, the dominant approach of the poor focus on reducing the vulnerability has shifted to increasing the resilience against disasters. According to this view, the plans for reducing risks should seek to establish and strengthen the resiliency features in the communities. Resilience is one of the most important factors in achieving sustainability. The concept of resilience was introduced in social-ecological systems. In fact, the concept of resiliency is the ability of a social or ecological system to absorb and deal with irregularities or disruptions so that people are able to keep up with the structure of basic functions, have the capacity of reorganization and capacity to adapt to the changes and tensions.
The data was collected via questionnaires distributed among inhabitants of rural regions that were 25 kilometers far from the shore of Lake Urmia. The total number of villages was estimated to be 42 villages with 13696 inhabitants. Using Cochran formula and the simple random sampling method, the sample size was 370. Moreover, 370 people were selected from the villages which were 25 kilometers far from Lake Urmia. The data gathering methods for answering the research questions were documentary and survey methods. Using Cronbach alpha special formula, the reliability of the questionnaire was obtained to be between 0.86 and 0.88. The variables used in this study consisted of 67 cases that had been chosen based on five dimensions of resiliency. For statistical analysis, the Spearman and multivariate regression tests were used, and to assess the resilience of rural areas and the special model of measuring resilience, optimized resiliency model was used.
Based on the results, economic resilience with a 20% deviation from the optimal, environmental resilience a 46% deviation from the optimal, and social resilience with an 8% deviation from the optimal are in the best situation compared to other dimensions. Based on the results of Spearman correlation coefficient, the maximum correlation of the rural resilience and the increase of distance from the Lake is for the environmental resilience (r=0.874). Based on the obtained standard beta, the variables of environmental resilience, social-cultural resilience, and economic resilience, infrastructural and physical-structural resilience are the variables that receive the highest level of change caused by the drought of the lake. Additionally, these predicator variables predict 87% of the variance. The results show that the contribution of drying in Urmia Lake in explaining the rural resilience regarding economic, socio-cultural, environmental, infrastructure and physical structure dimensions is 0.489, 0.411, 0.677, 0.420, and 0.450, respectively. Moreover, the spatial analysis of the rural resilience shows that the economic and social resilience of villages in southern and eastern parts of the Lake Urmia is higher than other parts. The environmental resilience of the villages of the northern and western sides is higher than other segments. Finally, the structural resilience of the villages in eastern side of the lake is better than the other sides.
According to the results, the resiliency of villages around the Lake Urmia is less than the villages which are far from the lake. In addition, the analytical results of the research confirmed the relationship between the dimensions of resilience and drought. The correlation of the environmental variables is more than the others. Five dimensions could explain 87 percent of the changes. Also the research findings showed that there is a difference in terms of resiliency between the villages in different directions of Lake Urmia. Finally, according to research findings, the following recommendations are presented:
• Increasing awareness of people, modifying crop patterns, looking for strategies for saving water consumption, and making use of efficient products are of high importance.
• Changing the dominant approach from the poor focus on reducing the vulnerability against drought crisis to increasing the resilience in the face of this crisis.
• The formation of a multi-sectoral structure to integrate the macro and strategic decisions of drought crisis management and planning through coordinating related agencies.


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