Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Agricultural Economics, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran.

2 Department of Economics, University of Sistan and Baluchestan, Zahedan, Iran.


This paper aimed to evaluate Water Use Efficiency (WUE) indices for crops and horticulture productions. In doing so, after gathering data from 164 farmers, we investigated water withdrawal cost indices and monetary return per cubic meter of water through two econometric and managerial approaches . Besides, water shadow pricesand dry matters of per cub meter of water were calculated. The results revealed that the average monetary return per cubic metre of water is 3875.4 IRR (0.134 USD) and cost per cubic metre of well water equals 839.3 IRR (0.029 USD), four times more than the value of some current development projects of water resources. Finally, according to the findings, we suggested a corrected price trade term to adjust water monetary return indices.Control policies and government participation in funding of artificial recharge of undergorund aquifers projects were recommended as well.

Graphical Abstract

Assessment of Water Use Efficiency Indices in Selected Plains of Fars Province, Iran


  • Water Use Efficiency (WUE) indices for crops and horticulture productions.
  • To assess water withdrawal cost indices and financial return per cubic meter, two econometric and managerial approaches were applied.
  • Water residual model produces misleading results in determining financial per cubic metre of water.
  • Water withdrawal cost in plains under water crisis has considerably increased.
  • Partnership of government is necessary in funding of artificial recharge of groundwater aquifers projects.


Main Subjects

1- Berbel, J., & Gomez-Limon, J. A. (2000). The impact of water-pricing policy in Spain: an analysis of three irrigated areas. Agricultural Water Management, 43(2), 219–238.
2- de Andrade Resende Filho, M., Correa, J. S. O., & de Oliveira Torres, M. (2015). Water Pricing in Brazil: Successes, Failures, and New Approaches. In Water Pricing Experiences and Innovations (pp. 41–61). Springer.
3- Frija, A., Chebil, A., Speelman, S., Buysse, J., & Van Huylenbroeck, G. (2009). Water use and technical efficiencies in horticultural greenhouses in Tunisia. Agricultural Water Management, 96(11), 1509– 1516.
4- Hanjra, M. A., & Qureshi, M. E. (2010). Global water crisis and future food security in an era of climate change. Food Policy, 35(5), 365–377.
5- Johansson, R. (2000). Pricing irrigation water: A literature survey. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, (2449).
6- Lu, Y., Zhang, X., Chen, S., Shao, L., & Sun, H. (2016). Changes in water use efficiency and water footprint in grain production over the past 35 years: A case study in the North China Plain. Journal of Cleaner Production, 116, 71-79.
7- Medellin-Azuara, J., Harou, J. J., & Howitt, R. E. (2010). Estimating economic value of agricultural water under changing conditions and the effects of spatial aggregation. Science of the Total Environment, 408(23), 5639–5648.
8- Medrano, H., Tomas, M., Martorell, S., Escalona, J.-M., Pou, A., Fuentes, S., & Bota, J. (2015). Improving water use efficiency of vineyards in semiarid regions. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 35(2), 499–517.
9- Molden, D., Oweis, T., Steduto, P., Bindraban, P., Hanjra, M. A., & Kijne, J. (2010). Improving agricultural water productivity: between optimism and caution. Agricultural Water Management, 97(4), 528–535.
10- Neal, J. S., Fulkerson, W. J., & Hacker, R.B. (2011). Differences in water use efficiency among annual forages used by the dairy industry under optimum and deficit irrigation. Agricultural Water Management, 98(5), 759-774.
11- Orprecio, J., Rola, A. C., Deutsch, W., Coxhead, I., & Sumbalan, A. (2016). More efficient water pricing may avert a water crisis. Makati City, Philippines: Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
12- Pala, M., & Oweis, T. (2001). Strategies for improved water use efficiency in dry areas. Natural Resource Management Program, ICARDA, Aleppo,  Syria, Retrived from http://www. Ankara. Edu. /faculties/ agriculture/seminar/abstract.html.
13- Rogers, P., De Silva, R., & Bhatia, R. (2002). Water is an economic good: How to use prices to promote equity, efficiency, and sustainability. Water Policy, 4(1), 1–17.
14- Sabuhi, M., Yaghoubi, M., & Esfandiari, M. (2012). A Survey on Water Use Efficiency of Rice Producers in Kamfirouz Region, Fars Province, Iran. International Journal of Applied Operational Research, 2(3), 45-53.
15- Shahraki, J., & Yaghoubi, M. (2014). Analysis of relative water use efficiency in Bahoukalat, Chabahar, Iran. Journal of Operational Research and Its Applications, 11(3 (42)), 93–108.
16- Soltani, Gh., B. Najafi & J. Torkamani. (1992). Management of agricultural units. Shiraz University Press, Iran.
17- Speelman, S., Buysse, J., Farolfi, S., Frija, A., D’Haese, M., & D’Haese, L. (2009). Estimating the impacts of water pricing on smallholder irrigators in North West Province, South Africa. Agricultural  Water Management, 96(11), 1560–1566.
18- Speelman, S., D’Haese, M., Buysse, J., & D’Haese, L. (2008). A measure for the efficiency of water use and its determinants, a case study of small-scale irrigation schemes in North-West Province, South Africa. Agricultural Systems, 98(1), 31–39.
19- Tang, J., Folmer, H., & Xue, J. (2015). Technical and allocative efficiency of irrigation water use in the Guanzhong Plain, China. Food Policy, 50, 43–52.
20- Tennakoon, S. B., & Milroy, S. P. (2003). Crop water use and water use efficiency on irrigated cotton farms in Australia. Agricultural Water Management, 61(3), 179–194.
21- Torkamani, J., Gh. Soltani and & H. Asadi. (1997). Pricing of water and investigating the value of the marginal efficiency of agricultural water. Water Resources and Development, 6 (1): 5-13.
22- Tsur, Y., & Dinar, A. (1997). The relative efficiency and implementation costs of alternative methods for pricing irrigation water. The World Bank Economic Review, 11(2), 243–262.
24- Turner, R.K. (2004). Economic valuation of water resources in agriculture: From the sectoral to a functional perspective of natural resource management (Vol. 27). Food & Agriculture Org.
25- Ward, F. A., & Michelsen, A. (2002). The economic value of water in agriculture: concepts and policy applications. Water Policy, 4(5), 423–446.
26- Ward, G.N., Jacobs, J.L. & Mc Dowell, A.M. (2001). Water use efficiencies of dry land brassica forage crops on contrasting soil types. Proceedings of the 10thAustralian Agronomy conference, Hobart.
27- Wise, R. M., Dye, P. J., & Gush, M. B. (2011). A comparison of the biophysical and economic water-  use efficiencies of indigenous and introduced forests in South Africa. Forest Ecology and Management, 262(6), 906-915.