WIT Press


Against The Grain: Segmenting And Profiling Irrigators Opposed To Water Transfers In Alberta, Canada

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/SI120401

Volume

168

Pages

10

Page Range

459 - 468

Published

2012

Size

328 kb

Author(s)

K. C. Lafreniere, H. Bjornlund & S. Deshpande

Abstract

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.

Keywords

water transfer, natural resource management, water management, irrigation, irrigator preferences, water reallocation, Alberta, water scarcity.