Adopting sustainable water management practices in agriculture based on stakeholder preferences

Velasco-Muñoz J.F., Aznar-Sánchez J.A., López-Felices B., Balacco G. (2022): Adopting sustainable water management practices in agriculture based on stakeholder preferences. Agric. Econ. – Czech, 68: 317–326.

supplementary materialdownload PDF

Technology has made it possible to achieve the very efficient use of water resources in agriculture. However, there are a set of practices that could increase both the availability and quality of the water resources, but which are not yet widely used. In view of the scarcity situation mainly produced by the consequences of climate change, the objective of this work is to analyse the adoption of sustainable irrigation management practices in agriculture. To this end, the aim is to identify and evaluate the variables involved in adopting sustainable practices in agriculture through the use of different qualitative research tools in successive phases (literature review, in-depth interviews, Delphi method and workshop). The results indicate that the sustainable practices to be adopted to improve water management in the study area are rainwater harvesting (RWH) and pond covering (PC). The main barriers are the costs, some farm characteristics and lack of research, while the facilitators include easy access to technology and the existence of farmer-to-farmer networks. Furthermore, the most influential stakeholders for these practices are the farmers, policymakers and researchers. Proposals for the adoption of sustainable water use practices have also been made consensually with all the involved agents.

Aznar-Sánchez J.A., Belmonte-Ureña L.J., Valera D.L. (2017): Perceptions and acceptance of desalinated seawater for irrigation: A case study in the Níjar district (Southeast Spain). Water, 9: 408.
Aznar-Sánchez J.A., Belmonte-Ureña L.J., Velasco-Muñoz J.F., Valera D.L. (2019): Aquifer sustainability and the use of desalinated seawater for greenhouse irrigation in the Campo de Níjar, Southeast Spain. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16: 898.
Carvajal F., Agüera F., Sánchez-Hermosilla J. (2016): Estimating the evaporation from irrigation reservoirs of greenhouses using satellite imagery. Environmental Progress and Sustainable Energy, 35: 1750–1757.
Casas J.J., Bonachela S., Moyano F.J., Fenoy E., Hernández, J. (2015): Agricultural practices in the Mediterranean: A case study in Southern Spain. In: Preedy V.R., Watson R.R. (eds.): The Mediterranean Diet: An Evidence-Based Approach. London, United Kingdom, Academic Press: 23–36.
Feola G., Lerner A.M., Jain M., Montefrio M.J.F., Nicholas K.A. (2015): Researching farmer behaviour in climate change adaptation and sustainable agriculture: Lessons learned from five case studies. Journal of Rural Studies, 39: 74–84.
García-Caparrós P., Contreras J.I., Baeza R., Segura M.L., Lao M.T. (2017): Integral management of irrigation water in intensive horticultural systems of Almería. Sustainability, 9: 2271.
Gardas B.B., Raut R.D., Cheikhrouhou N., Narkhede B.E. (2019): A hybrid decision support system for analyzing challenges of the agricultural supply chain. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 18: 19–32.
Grover S., Gruver J. (2017): 'Slow to change': Farmers' perceptions of place-based barriers to sustainable agriculture. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 32: 511–523.
Henning J.I.F., Jordaan H. (2016): Determinants of financial sustainability for farm credit applications – A Delphi study. Sustainability, 8: 77.
Juan M., Casas J.J., Bonachela S., Fuentes-Rodríguez F., Gallego I., Elorrieta M.A. (2012): Construction characteristics and management practices of in-farm irrigation ponds in intensive agricultural systems – Agronomic and environmental implications. Irrigation and Drainage, 61: 657–665.
Laurett R., Paço A., Mainardes E.W. (2021): Sustainable development in agriculture and its antecedents, barriers and consequences – An exploratory study. Sustainability Production and Consumption, 27: 298–311.
Leong J.Y.C., Chong M.N., Poh P.E., Vieritz A., Talei A., Chow M.F. (2018): Quantification of mains water savings from decentralised rainwater, greywater, and hybrid rainwater-greywater systems in tropical climatic conditions. Journal of Cleaner Production, 176: 946–958.
Liu T., Bruins R.J.F., Heberling M.T. (2018): Factors influencing farmers' adoption of best management practices: A review and synthesis. Sustainability, 10: 432.
Long T.B., Blok V., Coninx I. (2016): Barriers to the adoption and diffusion of technological innovations for climate-smart agriculture in Europe: Evidence from the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Italy. Journal of Cleaner Production, 112: 9–21.
Panagea I.S., Daliakopoulos I.N., Tsanis I.K., Schwilch G. (2016): Evaluation of promising technologies for soil salinity amelioration in Timpaki (Crete): A participatory approach. Solid Earth, 7: 177–190.
Perry-Hill R., Prokopy L.S. (2014): Comparing different types of rural landowners: Implications for conservation practice adoption. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 69: 266–278.
Prokopy L.S., Floress K., Arbuckle J.G., Church S.P., Eanes F.R., Gao Y., Gramig B.M., Ranjan P., Singh A.S. (2019): Adoption of agricultural conservation practices in the United States: Evidence from 35 years of quantitative literature. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 74: 520–534.
Qu S.Q., Dumay J. (2011): The qualitative research interview. Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management, 8: 238–264.
Reca J., Trillo C., Sánchez J.A., Martínez J., Valera D. (2018): Optimization model for on-farm irrigation management of Mediterranean greenhouse crops using desalinated and saline water from different sources. Agricultural Systems, 166: 173–183.
Redwood M., Bouraoui M., Houmane B. (2014): Rainwater and greywater harvesting for urban food security in La Soukra, Tunisia. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 30: 293–307.
Thompson R.B., Padilla F.M., Peña-Fleitas M.T., Gallardo M. (2020): Reducing nitrate leaching losses from vegetable production in Mediterranean greenhouses. Acta Horticulturae, 1268: 105–117.
Valera D.L., Belmonte L.J., Molina F.D., López A. (2016): Greenhouse Agriculture in Almería. A Comprehensive Techno-Economic Analysis. Cajamar Caja Rural. Available at (accessed May 13, 2022).
Wang J., Bjornlund H., Klein K.K., Zhang L., Zhang W. (2016): Factors that influence the rate and intensity of adoption of improved irrigation technologies in Alberta, Canada. Water Economics and Policy, 2: 1650026.
supplementary materialdownload PDF

© 2022 Czech Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Prohlášení o přístupnosti