Gas refineries are among the most water-intensive industries in the world. The Fajr Jam gas refinery is one such example, located in the southern Iran. The indiscriminate use of aquifer resources for this highly profitable industry creates tragedy of the commons effects, causing significant environmental controversy and threatening the long-term water security of the region. It behooves decision makers, therefore, to examine a broad range of adaptive water management strategies for this industry. The implementation of such strategies requires understanding the preferences and potential conflicts that may emerge among competing stakeholder interests. This quantitative social scientific study examines stakeholder preferences among water management options through the lens of social capital. Elite stakeholder representatives (including agricultural organizations, governmental organizations, the Water, and Power Authority, Department of Health, Bureau of Water and Wastewater) were canvassed through a survey instrument using paired comparisons. Data were analyzed using Expert Choice software and an analytic hierarchy process technique. The results show that accountability is the main criterion for selecting the best water sources and ranked first with the Eigenvector 0.62. Also, the results show that the least important criterion was social cohesion with the Eigenvalue 0.033. The criteria of partnership and trust ranked as two and three with Eigenvalues 0.215 and 0.133, respectively. The results indicate that the construction of salt water transmission from the sea (A = 0.240) is the preferred option among other alternatives, and this is confirmed by sensitivity analysis.