WIT Press

Exploring Links Between Policy Preferences For Water Reallocation And Beliefs, Values, Attitudes, And Social Norms In Alberta, Canada


Free (open access)





Page Range

107 - 118




2,409 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


M. Russenberger, H. Bjornlund & W. Xu


In many semiarid regions, total water allocations exceed levels available for extraction. Despite growing demand for water from urban and environmental uses, the majority of these allocations are held by agricultural users. In order to meet new demand in the face of uncertain future supply, water must be reallocated from irrigation to urban and environmental uses; however, such reallocation faces stiff opposition from irrigators and non-irrigators alike. Although irrigators have disproportionate power over the reallocation process, the preferences of non-irrigators with greater electoral power and contributions to tax revenue are also important to policy makers. This study explores these issues based on extensive surveys of non-irrigators in Alberta, Canada. Values, beliefs, and attitudes are found to influence policy preferences differently. Policy makers and water managers should consider these psychological constructs when designing, marketing and implementing policies and mechanisms to reallocate water in accordance with the values of wider society. Keywords: water reallocation, values, attitudes, beliefs, rural-urban transfers. 1 Introduction Around the world, growing urban populations and expanding economies are placing new and varied demands on existing freshwater resources. Growing environmental concerns have resulted in increased pressure to leave water in rivers for ecosystem health. In many arid and semiarid areas, the allocation of water resources has surpassed most estimates of what constitutes a sustainable


water reallocation, values, attitudes, beliefs, rural-urban transfers