Demand-oriented irrigation water management in northwestern China : methodologies, empirics, institutions and policies

Jianjun Tang

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

    1203 Downloads (Pure)


    While water is scarce in northwestern China, the demand for it is growing rapidly due to population and income growth, industrialization and urbanization. Due to insufficient precipitation, irrigation plays a crucial role in ensuring agricultural production and food security in the region and China as a whole. Despite its scarcity, irrigation water use efficiency is low because of weak water management. Hence, this thesis focuses on demand and institutional oriented strategies to improve irrigation water use efficiency. It analyzes the impacts of several policy handles, notably irrigation water management reform, water pricing, stimulation of the adoption of water-saving techniques, and enhancement of farmers’ awareness of water scarcity, on farmers’ irrigation water use efficiency.
    Data analyzed includes a panel data set of 800 farmers for the period 2000-2005, and a cross-sectional data set of 460 farmers collected in 2011 in the Guanzhong Plain. The main conclusions are the following. Firstly, irrigation management reform has a positive impact with water users association having the largest effect, followed by joint-stock co-operative and private company. Secondly, enhancing awareness of water scarcity is effective in increasing irrigation water efficiency and adoption of water-saving techniques. Thirdly, dissemination of information via social networks, rather than via the media, is an important vehicle to enhance awareness of water scarcity. Fourthly, risk-averse farmers who have experienced production risk are more likely to adopt more, and more advanced water-saving techniques.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Folmer, Henk, Supervisor
    • Xue, J., Co-supervisor, External person
    Award date26-Jun-2014
    Place of Publication[S.l.]
    Print ISBNs978-90-367-6981-5
    Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-6980-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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