Assessing irrigation efficiency improvements by using a preference revelation model

C. Gutierrez-Martin, C. M. Gomez Gomez

Abstract


This paper develops a general preference model to explain farmers’ decisions. Contrary to better known and most commonly used simulation models, the one presented in this paper allows to calibrate, simulate and explain farmers’ decisions without assuming linear preferences (as in many multi criteria decision models) or unobservable implicit cost functions (as in positive mathematical programming models). The model is calibrated for crop decisions in the Genil Cabra irrigated area in the Guadalquivir valley (South Spain) as the resulting empirical model is used to study how farmers react by adjusting these decisions when efficiency in the use of water is improved under different scenarios regarding water use rights. The main conclusion of the paper is that the potential water savings from enhancing irrigation technique (636 m3 ha–1) are overcome by increasing water demand due to higher per drop water productivity when sunflower is replaced by maize. For that reason water price increases and/or reduction of water use rights is a necessary condition to convert water savings through improved efficiency into lower water use and better conserved water sources.

Keywords


agricultural policy; mathematical programming; water demand for irrigation

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References


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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/20110904-514-10