Irrigators’ preferences for policy instruments to improve water supply reliability

Anastasio J Villanueva*, K Glenk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


Information on irrigators’ preferences for policy instruments that facilitate adaptation to changes in water supply under climate change is urgently needed to design efficient related policies. The present study analyzes irrigators’ preferences toward policy instruments to improve water supply reliability. The analysis is based on a Best-Worst-Scaling (BWS) experiment drawing on survey data (N=202, collected in Oct-Dec 2016) on southern Spanish irrigators’ preferences for five different policy instruments, including supply-side (building of a new pond, improved existing distribution and storage infrastructures) and demand-side approaches (water markets, banks, and storage account). In terms of irrigators’ preferences, water storage account and improved infrastructure generally rank highly, whereas water banks and particularly water markets rank lowly. Results of a latent class model show a high degree of preference heterogeneity. Four discrete classes of irrigators’ preferences were identified and labeled as follows: “market haters”, “pond haters”, “bank haters”, and “pond lovers”, representing 44%, 26%, 20%, and 10% of the surveyed irrigators, respectively. Several factors including farm and irrigator characteristics have a significant influence on class membership. Together, the results highlight promising opportunities to efficiently address uncertain water supply under climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111844
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Early online date25 Dec 2020
Publication statusPrint publication - 15 Feb 2021


  • Best-worst scaling
  • Farmers' preferences
  • Governance hybrids
  • Policy-making
  • Water banking
  • Water markets


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