Climate change is arguably the most severe and complex challenge facing today’s society, a cross-cutting issue affecting many sectors and connected to other global challenges, such as ensuring sustainable water management and food security. Agricultural systems are adversely influenced by climate change through increased water stress, change in run-off patterns, seasonality fluctuation, and temperature variations. Farmers are, hence, a valuable source of first-hand observations of climate change as they may provide a deeper understanding of their manifestation, relevance, and effects. Social and behavioural sciences have investigated the influence of farmers’ experiences in increasing climate change adaptation capability and improving decision-making processes at the system level. The conclusion is that local perceptions provide sufficient baseline information for understanding individual and collective exposure to climate risks, an essential element for effective policy formulation and implementation. Traditional management approaches based on simple, linear growth optimization strategies, overseen by command-and-control policies, have proven inadequate for effective adaptation to climate change. Conversely, accurate bottom-up approaches focused on social learning can complement the system transformation by building collaborative problem solving among individuals, stakeholders, and decision-makers. In this context, deepening social perception becomes fundamental for two main reasons: i) it is a key component of the socio-political context, and ii) it is an essential step for behaviour transformation and attitude change. In this line, associative processing methods, such as interviews and surveys, have been discussed for their ability to monitor the nature, extent, significance, and influence of personal experience on climate change adaptation. Also, modelling techniques have been recognized in social sciences as effective mechanisms to simulate the social influence in decision-making processes. System dynamics (e.g., causal loop diagrams, CLD) and Agent-Based Models (ABM) can include feedback between social and physical environments, define individuals’ and stakeholders’ narratives, and map the social network with agents’ interactions. This proposal aims at testing how qualitative data can enable policy-makers and managers to understand and re-think water management and climate change policies at the local level, which is essential to address agricultural risks. From a system dynamics approach, we examine how ABMs can most effectively integrate behavioural data collected from semi-structured interviews and surveys to increase robustness in decision-making processes while attending to farmers’ behaviour on climate change adaptation. We surveyed 460 farmers and semi-structured interviews with 13 irrigation consortiums from northern Italy to deepen a triple loop analysis on climate change awareness, perceived impacts, and adaptive capacity.