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OPTIMIZING THE PERFORMANCE OF IRRIGATED AGRICULTURE IN EASTERN ENGLAND UNDER DIFFERENT WATER PRICING AND REGULATION STRATEGIES

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Abstract

Irrigation water shortage is becoming an increasingly serious problem in agricultural production. Growing pressure on water resources is leading to increasing restrictions on abstraction for irrigation and consideration of the use of economic instruments, such as increased abstraction charges and/or tradable licences, to restrict demand and encourage wiser use of water.

We evaluate irrigation using selected economic, social, and environmental indicators of performance, including the value of water used for irrigation. A linear programming model is developed and used to simulate possible responses by irrigators and the impact on irrigation performance of intervention measures, namely abstraction quota restrictions and volumetric pricing that might be used to ration water and/or increase water use efficiency. Through the use of parametric programming a scenario analysis is performed to a case study in eastern England with regard to perturbations of irrigation water under alternative policy instruments.

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