Water Conservation Policy Evaluation: The Case of the Southern Ogallala Aquifer
Keywords:Ogallala Aquifer, dynamic optimization, natural resource management
The Great Plains region of the United States is characterized by a significant dependence on agriculture;specifically irrigated agriculture. The regional economic dependence on irrigated agriculture and the decline of the Ogallala Aquifer due to agricultural pumping have been much of the basis for the relatively recent governmental interest in developing policy alternatives for conserving water in the aquifer. The objectives of this study were to analyze and evaluate the outcomes of specified water conservation policy alternatives on the Ogallala Aquifer underlying the Southern High Plains of Texas and Eastern New Mexico using non-linear optimization models. Results indicate that due to varying land use and hydrologic conditions in the Ogallala Aquifer, blanket water conservation policies will likely be inefficient.