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Efficient groundwater allocation and binding hydrologic externalities

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  • Elbakidze, Levan
  • Vinson, Hannah
  • Cobourn, Kelly
  • Taylor, R.Garth

Abstract

Reallocating water according to its highest marginal value can generate economic gains. However, reallocation of water use often generates third-party effects, or externalities, which prohibit transfers. We develop a spatial-dynamic hydro-economic model to assess the gains from redistributing water across irrigators, taking into account externalities that water use transfers may produce. Water use is optimized across space and time such that return flows in various segments of the watershed do not decrease relative to the flows obtained under current water use. Across a suite of water shortage scenarios in Idaho’s Eastern Snake River Plain, the reallocation of water subject to third party externalities generates an 8–16% increase in aggregate annual profit earned by irrigators, relative to the Prior Appropriation-based allocation. The failure to account for the constraints on reallocation that arise due to externalities overstates the benefits from reallocation by 7%.

Suggested Citation

  • Elbakidze, Levan & Vinson, Hannah & Cobourn, Kelly & Taylor, R.Garth, 2018. "Efficient groundwater allocation and binding hydrologic externalities," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 147-161.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:53:y:2018:i:c:p:147-161
    DOI: 10.1016/j.reseneeco.2018.05.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Water use distribution; Efficiency; Water shortage; Hydrologic externalities;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

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