Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Farmer behavior under groundwater management scenarios: Implications for groundwater conservation in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain

October 30, 2020

Concern about sustained availability of fresh groundwater for agricultural use in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (MAP) mounts as groundwater levels decline. We evaluate elasticities of demand for groundwater and other agricultural inputs, as well as overall and output specific economies of scale for four major irrigated commodities (rice, corn, soybeans, and cotton) in the MAP region. Additionally, we investigate impacts of two groundwater management policy scenarios, including increasing pumping cost and groundwater use restrictions, on irrigation behavior. The results show price elasticity of demand for groundwater to be -0.13, indicating that it is inelastic, and an increasing cost of pumping will not significantly decrease relative demand for groundwater in the region. Even with policy scenarios that either increase the costs of pumping significantly or restrict groundwater use in the region, groundwater demand still appears to be inelastic. We also document significant overall economies of scale in the region. Our findings have implications for potential policy options aimed at reducing groundwater use. Efficient management practices are important to increase aquifer recharge, and at the same time, incorporation of human behavior via economic analysis will improve projections of groundwater availability in the MAP region.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Farmer behavior under groundwater management scenarios: Implications for groundwater conservation in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain
DOI 10.1142/S2382624X20500095
Authors Mustapha Alhassan, Emily J. Pindilli, Collin B Lawrence
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Water Economics and Policy
Series Number
Index ID 70215989
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Science and Decisions Center

Related Content