Entrepreneurial Approaches in Water Management

Decision Making Approaches

Training Module 02


TR02: Entrepreneurial Approaches in Water Management


  • From a business management perspective, the field of agriculture is similar to any other, although it has its own peculiarities particulars.
  • Thus, it is essential to thoroughly prepare your business plan and determine whether an action is feasible, justifiable, and viable.
  • Water as a critical input for agricultural production can play an essential role in questions of quantity and quality of final supply.
  • There is an entrepreneurial decision about actions to take from day to day, embedded in long-term planning and strategy.

1. Entrepreneurial Aim of Water Management

  • The basic concept of farming is managing land over generations. To keep the soil fertile in the short-/ mid-and long-term is an absolute prerequisite, and therefore farmers need to take respective decisions and take actions accordingly.
  • Entrepreneurial thought is basic for farming business over generations.
  • Entrepreneurial thought does not necessarily need to be driven mainly by financial aims.
  • Entrepreneurial thought in farming needs to meet sustainability: within the frames of business management over generations and for centuries, as well as in the meaning of respecting economic and social and environmental aspects in decisions.
  • To keep land sustainable, water is an essential resource.
  • Water itself reflects all perspectives of sustainability from farmers‘ perspectives as well as from societies‘ perspectives:
    • Economic
    • Social, and
    • Environmental perspective
  • Being aware of his overall business plan, an entrepreneur can include special topics and give a unique glance to the issue of water.
  • Having a well-structured process for business thinking facilitates quality and speed of decision-making and action-taking at the level of individual farms and cooperatives.
  • Defining the problem is the first step to solving it successfully.
  • This approach helps save more time in the problem-solving phase since the problem is well-defined and foreseen. It also enables a reduced waste of initially invested resources.
special glance to the issue of water within business planning Defining the problem Challenge/ Problem changes in water availability
floods and droughts
increased irrigation requirements
deterioration of water and soil quality
loss of biodiversity
well structured process for decision- making and action Solving the problem Strategy/ Measure Technological

2. Concept of Planning

  • Main characteristics of planning
    • Goal-oriented
    • Pervasive
    • Dynamic by nature
    • Continious
    • Future-oriented
    • Involving choice
  • Planning is not based on guesswork, but it is a process of data collection, analysis, and interpretation of past events and experiences, current events and future forecasting.
  • Consequently, farmers/ entrepreneurs need to have the skills of analysis, planning and judgement.
  • WHAT
    kind of product or service do you offer?
    do you conduct business with (yourself, cooperation, employees)?
    are your products or services for (potential clients, market)?
    do you do your business (potential competitors, players on market)?

By answering these questions, a farmer can obtain a more holistic overview of the water needs of his holding.

3. Objectives – Timeline – Forecasting

4. Problem-Solving – Decision making

  • To reach an effective and efficient solution, a decision-making process is needed.
  • Α schematic illustration of the process of decision-making is presented here.
  • An entrepreneur/leader should take action to manage his farm sustainably and successfully.
  • In order to be more productive in decision-making, an entrepreneur should prioritize what tasks should be done immediately, what tasks should be scheduled for later, what tasks should be delegated to someone else, and what tasks should be eliminated, using a well-known decision matrix box, based on the level of urgency and importance of a task or a project.
  • Eisenhower-Box is a simple decision-making tool and represents an ideal example of „How to be more productive“ in decision-making.
  • As you know, water takes the way of the least resistance.
  • Keep in mind the following key issues:
    • Access to water
    • Need of water in your business
    • Need of water in your surrounding
    • Use of water
    • Application of water
  • Water is not a simple issue to handle.
  • Thus, it seems recommendable to keep structures and processes of decisions and actions simple in order to address the issue sufficiently, taking into account:
    • Efficiency and effectiveness
    • Sustainability
    • Short and long term business case

Sources and Links





Content based on daily work and experience as well as expertise of Hof und Leben GmbH within European and national projects.

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