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Water Reallocation Policies – The Importance of Rural and Urban Differences in Alberta, Canada

Authors: Henning Bjornlund, Alec Zuo, Sarah Wheeler, Rob de Loë


There is currently intensive debate in Alberta, Canada, regarding rural to urban water reallocation. This paper explores the demographic and attitudinal influences that are associated with the acceptance of water reallocation policies and whether such acceptance differs between urban and rural residents. We investigate three policy orientations in regards to water policies: i) government intervention; ii) environmental protection; and iii) protecting irrigators- water rights. We find that urban dwellers are more likely to favour government intervention while rural dwellers are more likely to support policies that aim at protecting irrigators- water rights. While urban dwellers are also more likely to favour environmental protection, the difference is not statistically significant. We also find that other factors have a significant impact on policy choice irrespective of residence such as demographic and socioeconomic factors as well as the values people hold toward water and the environment.

Keywords: Canada, rural, urban, water transfers.

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