Water Supply and Water Allocation Strategy in the Arid U.S. West: Evidence from the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer

This article analyzes how irrigating farmers change their micro-level water allocation in response to water supply variations under institutional water constraints and project the irrigation percentage and farm income under future climate scenarios. We use a highly-detailed data sample of irrigation status, water rights, water supply and agricultural land use from Idaho’s Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer area. Results indicate that 1-unit increase in irrigation percentage leads to ~US$18/ha increase in crop revenue. Compared to crop revenue, micro-level irrigation percentage is more prone to changes under long-term water stress. Seasonal water supply variations only have limited impact on the productivity of the irrigated agricultural sector as a whole. We postulate that average irrigation percentage and farm income will, in effect, increase under Idaho’s institutional water governance in the long run, when junior farmers stop irrigated agriculture practices due to persistent water shortage.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
O13; Q12; Q15

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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