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Effects of instantaneous groundwater availability on irrigated agriculture and implications for aquifer management

Mani Rouhi Rad, Nicholas Brozovic, Timothy Foster and Taro Mieno

Resource and Energy Economics, 2020, vol. 59, issue C

Abstract: Groundwater is an important input for agricultural production in many parts of the world. Aquifer depletion has been shown to affect the rate that groundwater can be extracted from an aquifer. In this paper, we develop an analytical framework that accounts explicitly for the effects of limited instantaneous groundwater extraction rate (well capacity) on a producer's irrigation decisions. We show that limited well capacities can affect the producer’s groundwater use and profit. We draw three important insights from these findings. First, we demonstrate that the price elasticity of demand for groundwater is higher for lower well capacities. Second, farmers’ irrigation decisions are non-monotonic with respect to well capacity and climate conditions. Under a drier climate, producers with greater well capacities increase their groundwater use, and producers with lower well capacities reduce their water use. Third, through numerical analysis, we show that considering spatial heterogeneity in well capacities is important for estimating the cost-effectiveness and distributional impacts of groundwater management policies. Our results shed new light on the importance of extraction capacity for groundwater management policies and the potential impacts of climate change on agricultural production.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.reseneeco.2019.101129

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