2001 Conference Papers

"Social and economic impacts associated with irrigated land use change"
- Heather McCrostie Little and Nick Taylor

Paper presented to the New Zealand Association for Agricultural and Resource Economics (NZAERS) Conference, Blenheim, 6-7 July 2001.

Irrigation creates social change. It can transform the land, be a critical asset in the development of economies, re-vitalise people and stabilise communities. The evolution of radical diversification of land production, and the subsequent emergence of different rural economies and changed social patterns following irrigation, are described with a model of three waves of ownership change. There are impacts on land use, ownership, work and paid labour, demography and community social structures. Rural towns can be reluctant to appreciate the potential irrigation offers, the changing demands and opportunities. Positioning is needed to capitalise on their hinterlands changed production base while managing the social change that will eventuate.