Module B: Irrigation conflicts

Current questions: What perceptions regarding (future) water scarcity exist and arise among different irrigation actors and what influence do these have on (possible) actor strategies? How do different actors’ policies and context developments interact?

The case study for Module B focuses on conflicts that may arise due to changes in irrigation demand in both urban and rural areas. In the urban context, the focus is on concepts of water use of urban green space for cooling and recreation, as well as for dealing with heavy rainfall events (keywords heat, sealing, “sponge city”); in the rural context, the focus is on yield and quality assurance of cultivated crops, as well as on securing good soil conditions (keywords drought, compaction/erosion, biodiversity), in addition to landscape management. The origin of water and the related challenges for infrastructures and ecosystems are also addressed.

© Janina Moschner

Based on the current perception of the future conflict potential among local stakeholders, including practitioners and experts, possible strategies for managing water in the face of climatic changes are recorded and analysed in their interaction with each other. Through an interactive inclusion of experts from science and practice, the exchange between different water users is stimulated on the one hand, and on the other hand, the possible options for action in the case study’s district are made visible in their complexity. Interviews and stakeholder workshops conducted so far show that hardly any escalated conflicts are known, at the same time the problem awareness about potential future rivalry is high. Therefore, not only conflicts of interest over the resource itself but also actors’ argumentation lines regarding the implementation of new strategies (increasing efficiency, industrial and rainwater use, local water storage, adaptation of vegetation as well as preservation of locally specific products) are included in the analysis.

Participating from the selected county are: farmers, farmers’ association, wine cooperatives, authorities and administration on the city and county level, regional water suppliers, remote water supply, environmental protection organizations. In addition, scientists from various disciplines (hydrology, climate research, irrigation, social sciences) are also be participating.


PlantUsageTypical LandscapeIrrigation (need and manner)
Crops like potatoStaple foodsFieldsHigh in dry phases
Mobile application
Special crops like winePleasure foods, tourismHillsides (south)Low (except young plants)
Permanent installation
Urban GreensRecreation, cooling, improvement of air qualityDiverse: parks, gardens, spare areas, building roofs and wallsDiverse, depending on usage and actors’ expectations
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