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Lanzhou University (2014)

Households’ Response to Water Resources Management in Minqin Oasis


Titre : Households’ Response to Water Resources Management in Minqin Oasis

Auteur : 胡小军;

Grade : Doctoral Dissertation 2014

Université : Lanzhou University

Résumé partiel
Water scarcity is a critical policy issue in the arid regions of northwest China. Since the1950s, this region has experienced serious water resources shortages, drought, and desertification due to population growth, intensive agricultural activities, and poor water resources management. In addition, a projected increase in surface air temperature in north-western China is expected to result in a27%decline in glacier area and more severe drinking and irrigation water shortages by2050. Facing an unprecedented water resources crisis, northwest China has been designated as a pilot area for the development of water-saving practices by the central government. In recent years, the government has made great efforts to alleviate the over-exploitation of groundwater resources, improve the rural irrigation infrastructure and water use efficiency in agriculture.However, in practice, the implementation of water resources management activities is also difficult, primarily because of the lack of support and participation from small-scale farmers and farm communities. This can negatively affect the effectiveness and sustainability of water policies. In this paper, through a case study in Minqin oasis in northwest China, we performed quantitative and qualitative surveys to examine farmers’ responses to water resources management. We presented empirical results of a survey of small-scale farmers regarding livelihood assets, policy perception, social adaptation and community participation. In particular, we explored the reasons why current measures are unable to function effectively at the community level. Some conclusions are as follows :(1) Minqin oasis has been an irrigation-dependent farming area. Land is the main livelihood asset that small-scale farmers rely on. In2008, income from crop production constitutes the largest share of the rural household income (59%). From the perspective of the farmers, water shortages were ranked as the number one constraint by the majority of the respondents. Sandstorm and deterioration of groundwater quality were the second and third ranked constraints respectively.54.8%of the respondents felt that local ecosystem was becoming worse and worse,27.3%responded that there was no change in the ecosystem and only17.9%felt that the ecosystem became more productive. But there was no statistically significant difference among the three groups with respect to the attitudes toward watrer resources management.(2) The water rights reform is promoting the transformation of livelihood systems in Minqin oasis. However, based on the analysis of sustainable livelihood, the development of five different livelihood assets is out of balance. In particular, the government has paid less attention to the creating of human, social and financial assets as a whole. The livelihood transformation lacks internal motivation and vigor. As land is the most important asset for the farmers in Minqin oasis, livelihood security, not profit maximization, is the basic principle in the decision-making processes of the farmers. Thus, the implementation of policy measures for maximizing the economic benefits remains a challenge.(3) The average cost for irrigation water per household is1,651RMB in2008, which accounts for17.1%of the total crop production cost. With increasing costs from official charges and pumping, the majority of the respondents (over70%) hold a negative attitude toward water price reform, including increasing surface water prices, upwardly adjusting the groundwater resources levy, and establishing scalar pricing mechanism. The reform, which should be based on market-driven principles, ultimately becomes an administrative charge. In addition,45.7%of the respondents feel that the current water resources allocation policy is inequitable,37.2%feel that the water allocation policy is equitable, and17.1%hold a neutral attitude. There is a significant difference among the three groups with regard to attitudes toward water resources management.(4) With a reduction in the amount of water available to irrigation, the total income from crop production for small-scale farmers has declined in the short term. Farmers have taken a series of measures to cope with the water scarcity.

Mots clés : Water resources management; response of farmers; livelihood assetspolicy perception; adaptive strategies; community participation; Minqin oasis; aridregion of northwest China;

Présentation (CNKI)

Page publiée le 1er octobre 2017