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Water users associations and irrigation water productivity in northern China

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  • Zhang, Lei
  • Heerink, Nico
  • Dries, Liesbeth
  • Shi, Xiaoping

Abstract

Traditional irrigation water management systems in China are increasingly replaced by user-based, participatory management through water users associations (WUAs) with the purpose to promote, economically and ecologically beneficial, water savings and increase farm incomes. Existing research shows that significant differences exist in the institutional setup of WUAs in China, and that WUAs have not been universally successful in saving water and improving farm incomes. This paper aims to examine the underlying causes of differences in WUA performance by analyzing the impact of WUA characteristics on the productivity of irrigation water. Explanatory variables in our analysis are derived from Agrawal's user-based resource governance framework. Applying a random intercept regression model to data collected among 21 WUAs and 315 households in Minle County in northern China, we find that group characteristics, particularly group size and number of water users groups, and the existing pressure on available water resources are important factors in water productivity. Resource characteristics, i.e. resource size and degree of overlap between the WUA boundaries and natural boundaries, do not significantly affect water productivity in our research area.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Lei & Heerink, Nico & Dries, Liesbeth & Shi, Xiaoping, 2013. "Water users associations and irrigation water productivity in northern China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 128-136.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:95:y:2013:i:c:p:128-136
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.08.014
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kaori Tembata & Kenji Takeuchi, 2016. "Collective decision-making under drought: An empirical study of water resource management in Japan," Discussion Papers 1646, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
    2. Dawit K. Mekonnen & Hira Channa & Claudia Ringler, 2015. "The impact of water users' associations on the productivity of irrigated agriculture in Pakistani Punjab," Water International, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(5-6), pages 733-747, September.
    3. Feike, Til & Henseler, Martin, 2017. "Multiple Policy Instruments for Sustainable Water Management in Crop Production - A Modeling Study for the Chinese Aksu-Tarim Region," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 42-54.
    4. Villamayor-Tomas, Sergio, 2014. "Cooperation in common property regimes under extreme drought conditions: Empirical evidence from the use of pooled transferable quotas in Spanish irrigation systems," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 482-493.
    5. Guangwei Huang, 2015. "From Water-Constrained to Water-Driven Sustainable Developmentā€”A Case of Water Policy Impact Evaluation," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(7), pages 1-15, July.
    6. Xianlei Ma & Nico Heerink & Ekko Ierland & Xiaoping Shi, 2016. "Land tenure insecurity and rural-urban migration in rural China," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(2), pages 383-406, June.
    7. repec:eee:agiwat:v:203:y:2018:i:c:p:87-96 is not listed on IDEAS

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