A new user-oriented approach is presented to apply marketing research techniques to quantify perceptions, preferences and utility values of farmers. This approach was applied to design an improved water distribution method for an irrigation scheme in Mendoza, Argentina. The approach comprises two subprocesses. The first consists of a diagnostic analysis and the identification of an alternative water distribution system as concept solution to the regional irrigation problems. In contrast to the rigid current sytem, the alternative system allows farmers, within certain limits, to design their own monthly allocation of water. The second, user-oriented subprocess consists of three stages: a perception, a preference and a utility analysis.
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