The state of Nebraska, USA employs a localized, integrated approach to managing water resources to address escalating quantity challenges. Here, we assess differences between agricultural water users’ perceptions of water management in a water-stressed area of Nebraska after a first round of water management planning and perceptions of three other stakeholder groups in Nebraska immediately after a second round of water management planning. We also demonstrate the value of augmenting Ostrom’s common-pool resource management design principles with locally relevant criteria to evaluate water management at regional and statewide governance scales. Data from a survey of Platte River basin agricultural producers in 2012 were combined with survey data collected in 2019 from Platte basin agricultural producers, Platte basin non-farm residents, and non-farm residents across Nebraska. There were significant increases from 2012 to 2019 in Platte basin producers’ perceptions of four criteria and significant decreases in their perceptions of four other criteria. The current system continues to work relatively well, but notable exceptions endure, including a significant decrease in the number of agricultural producers who agree that there is equitable treatment of water users and trust in water management agencies. Non-farm respondents were significantly less likely than producers to agree that the current water management system is working well with regard to enforcing water-use rules.
- CPR principles
- common-pool resources
- integrated water resources management
- water governance
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