Publications

Participatory crossover analysis to support discussions about investments in irrigation water sources

Nikkels, Melle J.; Guillaume, Joseph H.A.; Leith, Peat; Mendham, Neville J.; Oel, Pieter R. van; Hellegers, Petra J.G.J.; Meinke, Holger

Summary

Regional long-term water management plans depend increasingly on investments by local water users such as farmers. However, local circumstances and individual situations vary and investment decisions are made under uncertainty. Water users may therefore perceive the costs and benefits very differently, leading to non-uniform investment decisions. This variation can be explored using crossover points. A crossover point represents conditions in which a decision maker assigns equal preference to competing alternatives. This paper presents, applies, and evaluates a framework extending the use of the concept of crossover points to a participatory process in a group setting. We applied the framework in a case study in the Coal River Valley of Tasmania, Australia. Here, farmers can choose from multiple water sources. In this case, the focus on crossover points encouraged participants to engage in candid discussions exploring the personal lines of reasoning underlying their preferences. Participants learned from others' inputs, and group discussions elicited information and insights considered valuable for both the participants and for outsiders on the factors that influence preferences. We conclude that the approach has a high potential to facilitate learning in groups and to support planning.