Rebound Effect of Irrigation Technologies? The Role of Water Rights

In this paper, we study the role of water rights in limiting the rebound effects of LEPA irrigation in the High Plains Aquifer region of Kansas, and farmer incentives to preserve their water rights. We find that the rebound effect is moderated by water rights and is high only when a well has large water rights, and limiting water rights raises farmer incentives to adopt LEPA. Reducing water rights thus can limit the undesirable rebound effects of new technologies without hurting incentives to adopt them. A significant portion of the effects of LEPA in raising water uses is through farmers switching to more water intensive crops such as corn and soybean, and through farmers raising their irrigated acreages after the adoption of LEPA. We also find that farmers have incentive to preserve water rights even when irrigation is not needed in the current period. The incentive is the highest if the farmer expects to use a large volume of water to irrigate, and is the lowest if the farmer expects not to use any water at all in the next period.

Issue Date:
Aug 02 2016
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
Q15; Q25
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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