Multi-year water allocation: an economic approach towards future planning and management of declining groundwater resources in the Texas Panhandle

Rachna Tewari, Lal K. Almas, Jeff Johnson, Bill Golden, Stephen H. Amosson, Bridget L. Guerrero

Abstract


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.


Keywords


dynamic optimization, irrigation, multi-year allocation, Ogallala Aquifer

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Texas Water Journal

The Texas Water Journal is an online, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the timely consideration of Texas water resources management, research, and policy issues from a multidisciplinary perspective that integrates science, engineering, law, planning, and other disciplines. It also provides updates on key state legislation and policy changes by Texas administrative agencies. The journal is published by the Texas Water Journal, a nonprofit organization, in cooperation with the Texas Water Resources Institute, part of Texas A&M AgriLife.

ISSN 2160-5319
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