Exploring synergies between hardware and software interventions on water savings in China: farmers' response to water usage and crop production

Mushtaq, Shahbaz (2012) Exploring synergies between hardware and software interventions on water savings in China: farmers' response to water usage and crop production. Water Resources Management , 26 (11). pp. 3285-3300. ISSN 0920-4741


Evidence is presented on synergies due to the sequencing and packaging of water reforms based on a review of case studies from the Zhanghe Irrigation System (ZIS) in the Yangtze River basin in China. Faced with strategic challenges of economic growth, food security, population growth, and climate change, China has implemented numerous hardware and software interventions in the water sector to increase the availability of water. These interventions ranging from the provincial and system level to farm and field level allow reallocation of water from agriculture to higher value uses, without significant reduction in crop production. This review of selected hardware and software interventions suggests that water sector reforms generate significant benefits for peasant farming communities and local governments. The review indicates that all agents respond to the same set of incentives simultaneously, by changing production and resource use decisions such that cumulative benefits from hardware and software interventions reinforce synergies. Synergies from reforms are evident, yet scaling up local collective actions for optimal impact is problematic. Heterogeneity in socioeconomic factors, as well as spatial differences, are the main stumbling blocks. Rewarding reformers seems to work, yet the benefits are neither immediate nor straight forward. Local implementation of national policies requires a systematic and coherent framework suited to the level of economic development of each region in order to achieve synergies from water reforms.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - No Department
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2012 11:55
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2014 22:53
Uncontrolled Keywords: Zhanghe irrigation system; collective action; water sector reforms; synergies; water saving irrigation practices; rice
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160507 Environment Policy
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070105 Agricultural Systems Analysis and Modelling
09 Engineering > 0905 Civil Engineering > 090509 Water Resources Engineering
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960706 Rural Water Policy
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1007/s11269-012-0072-7
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/21707

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