Against The Grain: Segmenting And Profiling Irrigators Opposed To Water Transfers In Alberta, Canada
Free (open access)
459 - 468
K. C. Lafreniere, H. Bjornlund & S. Deshpande
The growing demand for water in urban communities has increased pressure on current water entitlement holders, such as irrigators, to share their water. In the western Canadian province of Alberta, water sharing proposals often require irrigators to permanently sell their water. The majority of irrigation licenses are held by irrigation districts. Under the Irrigation District Act, the transfer of part of such licenses outside the district requires the approval of a majority of irrigators within the district. These water transfer plebiscites often attract considerable opposition from irrigators. Our study attempted to assess nature and reasons behind such opposition. Based on a survey of 275 randomly selected irrigators representing all districts of Alberta, we found that 40% of irrigators prefer sharing water rather than permanently selling it. Irrigators who oppose to water transfers belong to two groups. One group will always oppose water transfers regardless of any gains, while the other group considers factors such as environmental, personal or communal gains when they reject a water transfer. Strategies to effectively conduct a plebiscite on water sharing rights are later discussed. Keywords: water transfer, natural resource management, water management, irrigation, irrigator preferences, water reallocation, Alberta, water scarcity.
water transfer, natural resource management, water management, irrigation, irrigator preferences, water reallocation, Alberta, water scarcity.