The willingness of Central Oregon irrigators to donate water rights to augment Deschutes River flow Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/rf55zb00r

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  • This study used contingent valuation techniques to estimate the willingness of central Oregon Irrigators to donate a portion of their water rights to increase Deschutes River flow. This study was different from previous contingent valuation studies in that it used water rights as the payment vehicles instead of dollars - the traditional payment vehicle. It also constructed conservative estimates of willingness to donate (WTD) through a direct question of the certainty of donation by the respondents. Five irrigation districts were randomly sampled with a mail questionnaire. These were: Central Oregon, Swalley, Tumalo, Arnold, and North Unit Irrigation Districts. Five hundred and fifty water right holders were chosen from the districts. The study had a response rate of 61 percent. Willingness to donate models were estimated for both 1-year and 5-year periods. The statistical results showed that WTD was negatively correlated with agricultural sales and use of water rights in livestock production and that income, education, and environmental attitudes and group membership were positively correlated with WTD. Total WTD water rights for both 1-year and 5-year donation periods were low, 717.9 acres of water rights and 169.21 acres of water rights respectively. This study used an innovative technique pioneered by Champ et al.(1995) to construct conservative estimates of WTD by allowing respondents to gauge the level of certainty of their donation response on the questionnaire. By only accepting a level of certainty of 7 or higher, on a scale of 1 to 10, as "willing" respondents, conservative estimates of WTD were generated. The conservative estimates of total WTD were significantly lower. In fact, the 5-year conservative estimate was zero acres and the 1-year estimate was only 4.83 acres. Thus, WTD estimates can be quite sensitive to a test of respondent certainty.
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