Attaining self-sufficiency in major agronomic crops puts pressure on water resources. The Ministry of Agriculture has been successful in attaining self-sufficiency in wheat in 2005. What is the price of this self-sufficiency as the "virtual water" concept is concerned?
Lack of farmers' participation in decisions related to water management.
Some of the frequently asked questions in the scientific community (Iranian universities and research institutes) in respect to water management are:
How can scientific knowledge and research results be more effectively distributed especially to farmers who are the main users of water resources, in their water consumption and management decisions?
How can policy makers be convinced to apply certain scientific findings in the society?
How can new sources of funds be found to work out new ideas?
How can the disconnections among scientists, policy makers and water authorities be alleviated?
These questions are intensified in the third world as the type of water problems, views of the public, level of people's education and knowledge of the laws, public requests, and institutional and economic situation are different from developed countries.
The following steps are proposed to overcome some of the problems listed above, to find practical solutions, and to foster better relationships and collaboration between scientific communities and policy makers, water managers, and farmers. These steps are very important and necessary:
Differences in the context of activities and efforts should be understood. Scientists live in academic environments full of students and other colleagues, while policy makers are practicing in governmental offices face to face with the people having real problems who seek quick solutions to their problems.
Scientists, policy makers, water managers, and farmers often are living in their own thoughts and are not aware of the existence of the others. For example, despite the fact that hundreds of universities and research institutes exist in big cities, farmers still use conventional thousands-year old irrigation or agronomic systems to grow agricultural crops with low water use efficiency. Or, many parliament members or water managers either have no contact with universities or may not encourage the university members to observe decision-making processes and give scientific advices. Closer relationships and collaboration between these parties is recommended.
The timeframes and constraints are different for scientists and policy makers. Scientists are not in hurry to find results of their research. They should be able to verify the originality of their research findings. Policy makers and water managers are confronted with hundreds of real-time problems, which must have proper solutions as soon as