This paper presents a GIS framework for multi-criteria evaluation of land suitability for the expansion or retirement of irrigated cropland at a catchment scale in Australia. This framework is based on the fuzzy linguistic ordered weighted averaging (FLOWA) approach which integrates the analytical hierarchy procedure (AHP) and quantifier-guided OWA operators in an ArcGIS 9.2 environment. The FLOWA module proved to be highly flexible and efficient in generating and visualising a wide range of different multi-criteria decision strategies. Several scenarios were derived to show how the uncertainties involved in the suitability decision-making process can influence the outcomes. This framework has helped us understand the need for retirement as well as the potential for expanding irrigation in suitable areas of the catchment if water is available. Â© 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.