Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 431033
Title Policy reforms to promote efficient and systainable water use in Swiss agriculture
Author(s) Finger, R.; Lehmann, N.
Source Water Policy 14 (2012)5. - ISSN 1366-7017 - p. 887 - 901.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.2166/wp.2012.152
Department(s) Agricultural Economics and Rural Policy Group
WASS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2012
Keyword(s) irrigation - scenarios
Abstract The more sustainable use of scarce water resources is a policy goal in several countries. In this regard, current discussions on potential policy reforms in Switzerland revolve around the subsidization of water-saving irrigation technologies. Today, the share of drip irrigation systems is low, at 3%. In Switzerland, environmental laws specify levels of water flow that must not be undercut. Variable pricing of water, however, has not yet been used. This paper analyzes whether subsidies on water-saving irrigation techniques would be beneficial in this legislative setting, and shows that such subsidies may have crowding out effects because they could provide incentives to switch from non-irrigated crops (e.g. wheat) to the production of crops (e.g. potatoes) that require irrigation. This may result in even higher water withdrawal rates. Such an increased competition for water resources may also result in adverse conditions for farmers. By contrast, our analysis shows the implementation of water prices could lead to a sustainable increase in the share of water-saving technologies, to a shift from irrigated to non-irrigated crops, and therefore to a reduction of overall water use in agriculture. Thus, the introduction of water prices should have absolute priority if agricultural water policies are reformed in Switzerland.
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