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Consumer Perceptions After Long‐term Use of Alternative Irrigation Water

New AAEA member research released in AEPP

Israel has been using recycled water to irrigate crops on a national scale longer than any other country, yet little is known about how this impacts Israeli consumers’ preferences for their food.  Israel is also a world leader in the use of desalinated water for potable use and has been using alternative irrigation water on a nationwide scale for over three decades, but few studies have investigated Israeli consumers' perceptions of this strategy. Understanding consumer preferences of different types of alternative water after decades of use in a country with dwindling freshwater supplies can provide insight into how consumer preferences across the world might change or remain the same as water scarcity increases.

In the new article “Consumer perceptions after long‐term use of alternative irrigation water: A field experiment in Israel”, Sean Ellis, Maik Kecinski, and Kent Messer from the University of Delaware along with Clive Lipchin from the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in Israel look at Israel’s consumer preference and willingness to pay for conventional water, desalinated water and recycled water.

Messer says, “Israel’s been a pioneer on the use of recycled water to irrigate agricultural crops.  Israel’s use of recycled water has been viewed as a success story that offers important lessons for other places in the world that face water scarcity. The results of these field experiments suggest that, despite decades of successful use, some Israeli consumers are still relucatant to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables when they know that they are grown with recycled water. To avoid this diminished consumer demand, governments should seek ways to graduatlly expose the public to the use of recycled water in agriculture,”

If you are interested in setting up an interview, please contact Allison Ware in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Ware
Senior Communications Manager
(414) 918-3190