Full Length Research Paper
Irrigation water pricing has been considered as a tool to enhance water conservation in irrigated agriculture. We have evaluated the effects of water pricing on water management practices in Awash Basin Authority (ABA). The water charge has been collected over years with the aim to generate money for the Awash Basin Authority to cover operational expenses. Both the authority and water users see the charges paid as the contribution than as water demand management tool. Widespread irrigation inefficiency and low performances are more due to low level of irrigator’s knowledge to manage water, poor water conveyance and distribution systems, public ownership over large and medium-scale irrigation schemes, and inability to measure and control water. Increasing water price under such service conditions will only add burden to farmers and unlikely to be feasible. Despite these poor water delivery services, users are willing to pay relatively more than they currently pay which could increase the income of the basin authority. Improvement in irrigation water management requires strengthening of irrigation research and extension services, building the capacity of irrigators, and improving irrigation system operation and maintenance services.
Key words: Irrigation, water pricing, irrigation performance, willingness to pay.
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