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Influence of crop-water production functions on the expected performance of water pricing policies in irrigated agriculture

Francesco Sapino, C. Dionisio Pérez-Blanco, Carlos Gutiérrez-Martín, Alberto García-Prats and Manuel Pulido-Velazquez

Agricultural Water Management, 2022, vol. 259, issue C

Abstract: Agricultural economics Water Programming Models (WPM) has found that irrigators in water scarce areas have a rather inelastic response to water prices, making water pricing cost-ineffective towards water saving. We hypothesize that the predicted water saving performance of pricing is significantly underestimated by issues of model structure, due to the exclusion of deficit irrigation from the set of decision variables available to agents in conventional WPM. To test our hypothesis, we develop a model that integrates a continuous crop-water production function into a positive multi-attribute WPM, which allows us to assess agents’ adaptive responses to pricing through deficit irrigation. The model is illustrated with an application to the El Salobral-Los Llanos irrigated area in Spain. Our results show that incorporating deficit irrigation as an adaptation option makes the water demand curve significantly more elastic as compared to an alternative model setting where deficit irrigation is precluded. We conclude that ignoring deficit irrigation can lead to a significant underestimation of the cost-effectiveness of water pricing towards water saving.

Keywords: Mathematical programming models; Water pricing; Deficit irrigation; Water policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.agwat.2021.107248

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