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Abstract

Agriculture in the Texas High Plains depends entirely on the Ogallala Aquifer. Texas enacted water conservation legislation to address declining reserves in the aquifer. We developed an integrated regional water policy model that links a hydrology model with an economic optimization model to estimate policy impacts with respect to economic cost and water conservation. Testing the effectiveness of two policies, a groundwater extraction tax and extraction quotas, we observe that neither significantly inhibits groundwater use. Although both policies conserve similar amounts of groundwater, the regional cost of the tax policy to agriculture is more than the quota policy.

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