In recent years, interest has been growing in policy applications of different auction systems. This paper reports a series of experiments that were used to design and implement an auction in a unique policymaking environment. In April 2000, the Georgia legislature passed a law that mandated that the state hold an auction in drought years to pay some farmers to suspend irrigation. This paper reports the results of laboratory experiments state policymakers used to determine the auction institution that would be used to fulfill the requirements of this new law. Experimental results are compared with farmers' bidding behavior in the state-run irrigation auction used to reduce water usage in Georgia. © 2004 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.