The major implications that the European Union (EU) Water Framework Directive (WFD) may have in irrigated agriculture were analysed using alternative water policy measures. The consequences of policy change were evaluated in a case study (Baixo Alentejo, Portugal), using a Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) model that simulates farmers’ preferred behaviour. The study compares the effects of water pricing (volumetric and flat tariffs) and consumption quotas, in farmer’s income, water agency revenues, agricultural employment and water demand for irrigation. Model results indicate that the adjustments in farmer’s responses are dependent on the policy strategy enforced and on the policy level.


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