Using cross-over analysis to support water user discussion about investments in water sources for irrigation

M.J. Nikkels, J. Guillaume, P. Leith, N.J. Mendham, P.R. van Oel, Holger Meinke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Regional long-term water management plans increasingly depend on investments by local water users such as farmers. However, local circumstances and individual situations vary and investment decisions are made under uncertainty. Therefore, the perceived values of costs and benefits may also vary considerably among water users, leading to non-uniform investment decisions. This variation can be explored by examining cross-over points, that is, points of equal preference when comparing alternatives. In a participatory context, cross-over analysis has the potential to structure and strengthen discussions among actors and enhance social learning. This paper presents a framework to use cross-over points in a group setting to support discussions among farmers about strategic investments in irrigation water. The framework is tested in a case study in the Coal River Valley in Tasmania, Australia, where various water sources are available. A discussion workshop is designed to learn from each other’s perspectives and investment rationales. Instead of focusing on “what is best”, participants engage in a dialogue about when and why a particular water resource is preferable over others for increasing on-farm water availability. These insights can provide valuable background information for investment decisions by other water users, irrigation scheme designers and water managers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-23
JournalEuropean Water
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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