Many semi-arid regions are characterised by water scarcity and vulnerability of natural resources, pronounced climatic variability and social stress. Integrated studies including climatology, hydrology, and socio-economic studies are required both for analysing the dynamic natural conditions and to assess possible strategies to make semi-arid regions less vulnerable to the present and changing climate. The model introduced here dynamically describes the relationships between climate forcing, water availability, agriculture and selected societal processes. The model has been tailored to simulate the rather complex situation in the semi-arid north-eastern Brazil in a quantitative manner including the sensitivity to external forcing, such as climate change. The selected results presented show the general functioning of the integrated model, with a primary focus on climate change impacts. It becomes evident that due to large differences in regional climate scenarios, it is still impossible to give quantitative values for the most probable development, e.g., to assign probabilities to the simulated results. However, it becomes clear that water is a very crucial factor, and that an efficient and ecologically sound water management is a key question for the further development of that semi-arid region. The simulation results show that, independent of the differences in climate change scenarios, rain-fed farming is more vulnerable to drought impacts compared to irrigated farming. However, the capacity of irrigation and other water infrastructure systems to enhance resilience in respect to climatic fluctuations is significantly constrained given a significant negative precipitation trend.