In the context of increasing demand for irrigation water—but, at the same time, with the constraints in the supply from traditional resources—desalinated seawater has been recognized as one of the alternative sources of water to increase the supply for agricultural irrigation. However, its use among farmers has not yet started to expand. Policy makers need to understand what is causing the low acceptance levels of farmers, and how their attitudes could be improved. This is the first study that has conducted an analysis of farmers’ perceptions and acceptance of the use of desalinated seawater for irrigation. The study is based on collected data from a survey completed by farmers in southeastern Spain who do not use desalinated seawater. The main results indicate that desalinated seawater as a water supply source has the lowest acceptance level for farmers. Barriers for its use are price, the need for additional fertilization, and the perception that it would negatively affect the yield and crop quality. The farmers’ general level of knowledge about the impact of using desalinated seawater in agriculture is extremely low. Furthermore, farmers consider it a priority that their startup investment should be subsidized and that water prices should be reduced. Based on the study findings, this paper makes recommendations for the decision-making process in order to improve farmers’ acceptance levels.
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