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Abstract

This report examines the likely effects of additional agricultural water rights under the Columbia River Initiative (CRI) on net crop revenues (hay, orchards, vegetables, potatoes, wheat, and other crops) in the state of Washington over the next 20 years. This study corrects for four potentially serious methodological flaws made in two previous studies associated with the CRI and concludes that those studies substantially overestimated the net revenues accruing to producers in the Columbia River area from new irrigated acreage under the CRI. In fact, the net revenues are more likely to be negative than positive. Methodological errors made in the two previous studies lead to results that support a policy prescription that is just the opposite of what would be in the best economic interest of the state of Washington and the Columbia River region.

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