Multi-year water allocation: an economic approach towards future planning and management of declining groundwater resources in the Texas Panhandle
Vol. 5 No. 1 (2014). Cover photo: Lake Buchanan, Burnet County. ©2014. Mark Lee, Lower Colorado River Authority.


dynamic optimization
multi-year allocation
Ogallala Aquifer


Heavy withdrawals from the Ogallala Aquifer, the most dependable source of groundwater in the Texas Panhandle, create an impending need for implementing water conservation policies. This study evaluates the policy option of multi-year water allocation coupled with water-use restriction in Regional Water Planning Area-Region A of Texas, over a 60-year planning horizon for 4 study counties, namely Dallam, Sherman, Moore and Hartley. Dallam County is studied as a representative county and results compared with other study counties. For the unconstrained baseline scenario over 60 years, the counties of study show a decline in saturated thickness that recommends the incorporation of water-use restriction alternatives at different rates. Increasing restrictions rates led to decline in water use per acre as well as total annual water use. Such restrictions, if mandated by the water conservation districts, will result in individual irrigators bearing the cost of water savings in the form of reduction in net present value per acre. The decline in net present value may have implications to the regional economy, and therefore, it is crucial to analyze the socio-economic effects of implementing such a policy alternative and analyze the feasibility in the light of legislative and political scenarios.

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