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Effective and efficient water management implies understanding the wants and desires of the human populations through its key stakeholder groups. As a valuable resource that involves many regulating and managing players, the Red River of the North basin is an excellent case for studying stakeholder preferences and presenting them to involved managers. The primary goal of this research was to analyze stakeholder preferences for hypothetical Red River basin fresh water management alternatives. Specific objectives included comparing preferences across key stakeholder groups and estimating residents’ willingness to pay for additional water management programs. Initial experts’ and focus group meetings were used to select appropriate attributes and levels to be used within a stated choice experiments analysis. The final list of attributes included: additional recreation opportunities, water supply augmentation projects, water quality initiatives, and the type of institution that would be trusted. An additional levy upon annual property taxes, ranging from $20 to $240, was used as the price of these additional programs. Mail surveys were sent to three main stakeholder groups: informed stakeholders, who had attended the Red River Basin Commission water management conference; decision-makers, including county commissioners and mayors in basin constituencies; and random residents. An overall response rate of 34% was achieved. One interesting result was the general homogeneity of opinions across stakeholder groups. A log likelihood test failed to reject the hypothesis that stakeholders’ preferences were the same across groups. Results from the pooled nested logit model show younger respondents, males, non-farmers and those categorized as pro resource conservation in favor of additional water management projects. Initiatives that were favored by respondents included: phosphorous and nitrogen reduction and enhanced fishery management. Because the population of random residents did not demonstrate a preference for any additional water management option as opposed to the status quo, willingness to pay was not estimated.


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