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The social learning potential of participatory water valuation workshops: A case study in Tasmania, Australia


Nikkels, MJ and Leith, P and Kumar, S and Mendham, N and Dewulf, A, The social learning potential of participatory water valuation workshops: A case study in Tasmania, Australia, Environmental Policy and Governance pp. 1-18. ISSN 1756-932X (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2021 The Authors. Environmental Policy and Governance published by ERP Environment and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, ( which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited

DOI: doi:10.1002/eet.1939


Participatory water valuation workshops are useful for their valuation outcomes, but can they also foster social learning? Social learning involves changes in understanding through social interactions between actors, which go beyond the individual to become situated within wider social units. Participatory water valuation workshops involve dialoguing about knowledge, perspectives, and preferences, which may be conducive to social learning. In this paper, we assess the social learning potential of a participatory valuation workshop, based on a case study in Tasmania, where farmers, water managers, and a policy maker shared their personal perspectives on the past, current and future values of irrigation water. To assess the social learning potential of a single participatory valuation workshop, we analyzed drivers - that is, factors positively influencing social learning - and outcomes - that is, indications that social learning occurred. Data were collected through an exit survey, in-workshop reflections and semistructured interviews following 3 weeks and 6 months after the actual workshop. The results indicate that the workshop provided the drivers for social learning to occur. In addition, participants indicated to have learned from and with others, and that the workshop provided improved and extended networks. According to the participants, the workshop led to a shared concern about increasing prices for water licences and induced substantive outcomes related to the use, management, and governance of irrigation water. We conclude that participatory valuation workshops, such as the one analyzed here, can foster social learning.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:irrigation, participatory water valuation, social learning, Tasmania, evaluation
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Agriculture, land and farm management
Research Field:Agricultural hydrology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Nikkels, MJ (Mr Melle Nikkels)
UTAS Author:Leith, P (Dr Peat Leith)
UTAS Author:Kumar, S (Ms Saideepa Kumar)
UTAS Author:Mendham, N (Dr Neville Mendham)
ID Code:145790
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:TIA - Research Institute
Deposited On:2021-08-05
Last Modified:2022-08-23
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