AN EVALUATION OF THE 1997 EDWARDS AQUIFER IRRIGATION SUSPENSION1

Authors

  • Keith O. Keplinger,

    1. Respectively, Research Economist, Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Science, Tarleton State University, Box T-0410, Tarleton Station, Stephenville, Texas 76402; and Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843–2124 (E-Mail/Keplinger: keplinger@tiaer.tarleton.edu).
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  • Bruce A. McCarl

    1. Respectively, Research Economist, Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Science, Tarleton State University, Box T-0410, Tarleton Station, Stephenville, Texas 76402; and Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843–2124 (E-Mail/Keplinger: keplinger@tiaer.tarleton.edu).
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  • 1

    Paper No. 98174 of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association.Discussions are open until April 1, 2001.

Abstract

ABSTRACT: In early 1997, the Texas Edwards Aquifer Authority implemented a pilot Irrigation Suspension Program with the objectives of increasing springflow and providing relief to municipalities during drought. Irrigators were paid an average of $234 per acre to suspend water use, a price higher than regional land rental rates. Auction theory and program implementation details suggest that the program implementation partially caused inflated bids. The Irrigation Suspension Program is also compared to two alternative programs: (1) subsidizing more efficient irrigation technology and (2) buying land. The irrigation suspension is found to be more cost-effective relative to subsidizing improved irrigation efficiency because it can be put in place only when aquifer levels are low. Land purchase is a cheaper alternative if the bid levels remain at the levels observed.

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