Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1588
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1588
05 Jun 2024
 | 05 Jun 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Adaptive Behavior of Over a Million Individual Farmers Under Consecutive Droughts: A Large-Scale Agent-Based Modeling Analysis in the Bhima Basin, India

Maurice W. M. L. Kalthof, Jens de Bruijn, Hans de Moel, Heidi Kreibich, and Jeroen C. J. H. Aerts

Abstract. Consecutive droughts, becoming more likely, produce impacts beyond the sum of individual events by altering catchment hydrology and influencing farmers' adaptive responses. We use GEB, a coupled agent-based hydrological model, and expand it with the Subjective Expected Utility Theory (SEUT) to realistically simulate farmer behavior and subsequent hydrological interactions. We apply GEB to analyze the adaptive responses of ±1.4 million heterogeneous farmers in India's Bhima basin over consecutive droughts and compare scenarios with and without adaptation. In adaptive scenarios, farmers can either do nothing, switch crops, or dig wells, based on each action’s expected utility. Our analysis examines how these adaptations affect profits, yields, and groundwater levels, considering, e.g., farm size, risk aversion and drought perception. Results indicate that farmers’ adaptive responses can decrease drought vulnerability and impact after one drought (x6 yield loss reduction), but increase it over consecutive due to switching to water-intensive crops and homogeneous cultivation (+15 % income drop). Moreover, adaptive patterns, vulnerability, and impacts vary spatiotemporally and between individuals. Lastly, ecological and social shocks can coincide to plummet farmer incomes. We recommend alternative or additional adaptations to wells to mitigate drought impact and emphasize the importance of coupled socio-hydrological ABMs for risk analysis or policy testing.

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Maurice W. M. L. Kalthof, Jens de Bruijn, Hans de Moel, Heidi Kreibich, and Jeroen C. J. H. Aerts

Status: open (until 17 Jul 2024)

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Maurice W. M. L. Kalthof, Jens de Bruijn, Hans de Moel, Heidi Kreibich, and Jeroen C. J. H. Aerts

Data sets

Adaptive Behavior of Over a Million Individual Farmers Under Consecutive Droughts: A Large-Scale Agent-Based Modeling Analysis in the Bhima Basin, India [Data set and Code] Maurice W. M. L. Kalthof and Jens de Bruijn https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.11071746

Model code and software

Adaptive Behavior of Over a Million Individual Farmers Under Consecutive Droughts: A Large-Scale Agent-Based Modeling Analysis in the Bhima Basin, India [Data set and Code] Maurice W. M. L. Kalthof and Jens de Bruijn https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.11071746

Maurice W. M. L. Kalthof, Jens de Bruijn, Hans de Moel, Heidi Kreibich, and Jeroen C. J. H. Aerts

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Short summary
Our study explores how farmers in India's Bhima basin respond to consecutive droughts. We simulated all farmers' individual choices—like changing crops or digging wells—and their effects on profits, yields, and water resources. Results show these adaptations, while improving incomes, ultimately increase drought vulnerability and damages. Such insights emphasize the need for alternative adaptations and highlight the value of socio-hydrology models in shaping policies to lessen drought impacts.