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Abstract

Groundwater overdraft has long-run consequences for the crops grown, the economic viability of the agricultural community, and the ecosystem services from the landscape. We investigate how groundwater scarcity affects the tradeoff of economic returns and ecosystem services (namely, groundwater supply, surface water quality, and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions) in the Mississippi Delta farm production region of Arkansas, USA. As groundwater is more depleted, farmers are turning to conjunctive water management with on-farm reservoirs and tail water recovery. Distinct objectives either for economic returns and for ecosystem service guide whether on-farm reservoirs are built amidst a backdrop of cropping and irrigation decisions. Reservoirs enable the landscape to sustain a higher level of economic returns and ecosystem services. This is done through a synergy of economic returns, groundwater conservation, and GHG reductions that lowers irrigation costs and reduces the fuel combustion and associated GHGs from groundwater pumping.

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