Drought Adaptation in the Rio Grande Basin: Water Banking. Frank A. Ward NMSU ACES November 12, 2015 Las Cruces Convention Center

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1 Drought Adaptation in the Rio Grande Basin: Water Banking Frank A. Ward NMSU ACES November 12, 2015 Las Cruces Convention Center

2 Road Map Background (need for banking) Previous Research on Water Banking What We Don t Know (Gaps) Objectives Approach: Identify nature of gains Results Representative farm budgets Benefits of a groundwater bank Discussion Future (USDA project)

3 Background (need for banking) Ongoing drought: several years running Growing urban population Some water locked into senior uses, without a water market outlet, worsened in drought TX NM lawsuit Need to find a way to minimize the economic damage of shortages Varying seniority of groundwater rights Could a water bank reduce fallowing of highest income cropping? Could a water bank soften the blow?

4 Water Banking: What The practice of forgoing water deliveries during critical periods, and transferring it for someone else to use in that period in exchange for a price or delivery in kind. (simplified) Forgoing water deliveries and making available (banking) the water for another user, at a price.

5 Water Banking: Why Move water from existing (senior) uses to higher economically valued or more critical (junior) uses, in which financial incentives motivate both a buyer and seller to participate in moving. Reduce the economic damages produced by a drought Reduce the economic damages produced by an unfavorable lawsuit outcome.

6 Previous Work on water banking, Rio Grande

7 RG Hydro-Economic Model, Headwater inflows + starting values of storage Economic uses: urban, ag, recreation Multi-year, tracks carryover storage 4 ag regions, 2 urban areas, 6 reservoirs Ag detail by crop, district: price, cost, yield, water use per acre

8 RG HEM, continued Institutional constraints: RG Compact, Endangered Species Act, NM-TX water sharing agreement, US Mexico Treaty of Policy options analyzed to date: Water banking (water trades across state, national boundaries) Drip Irrigation Subsidies Tiered Pricing Model objective: Allocates water to maximize discounted net present value of economic benefits summed over time, place, use, while respecting constraints

9 RG HEM, continued Findings (Water Banking) Benefits, Level: Compared to existing institutions (law of the river), future drought damages can be reduced by 20 to 33% per year through intrastate and interstate water banks, that allow water transfers across water management jurisdictions (WRR, 2005). Benefits, Source: Providing financial incentives for voluntary trading can move water from lower-valued senior uses to higher valued junior uses

10 Published in RG HEM, continued Proceedings of the National Academy of Science Water Resources Research Journal of Hydrology Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management Water Policy International Journal of Water Resources Development Water Resources Management Ecological Economics Details:

11 Knowledge Gaps Little analysis to date has shown economic benefits of a water bank to avert priority administration in the Rio Grande Project Area below Elephant Butte.

12 Objectives Illustrate economic benefits that could be expected in a severe drought from a water bank set up to avert priority administration.

13 Approach Present a Simple Example Illustrating Economic Gains Produced by a Water Bank Typical Crops and Cropping Economics of the Lower Rio Grande Area.

14 Ag Water Banking Simple Example Data Units Crop 1 Crop 2 Price $ / ton Yield tons/acre Cost $ /Acre Net Revenue $ / Acre Water Feet Depth 6 3 Land Acres

15 Gains from a Water Bank (I) farm use (feet) net rev ($/ac) net rev ($/a-f) priority land (ac) total use (a-f) total income ($/yr) regional use (a-f) senior , junior , senior , junior senior junior ,

16 Gains (II) regional water supply (a-f) trading allowed water traded (a-f) price range ($/a-f) individual gains from trade ($) regional income ($) regional gains from trade ($) 1200 full No 600 half No na na 1,063,900 na na na 139, half Yes (price x 600)s - 139, ,000 (price x 600)b 924, ,100

17 Results Establishing a water bank produces larger economic gains with: More diverse farms More diverse water requirements per acre More diverse net revenue per acre Larger water shortages More diverse seniority levels Juniors producing higher income per acre foot than seniors More diverse participants (e.g., urban and environmental)

18 Discussion: Role of Models Helps track economic benefits of alternative water bank designs. Important in the face of wide variability in cropping patterns yields water requirements/acre net revenue/acre seniority water supply conditions

19 Discussion: Important Remaining Questions Water accounting How much needed for replacement (this year)? How much is saved by fallowing? What proportion from bank-fallowed land keeps the aquifer whole? How much saved by deficit irrigation? How much saved by converting to drip irrigation Scope Urban participants Environmental participants Multi year with storage Role of Completed Adjudications Bank works best with all wr priority dates known

20 Future Plans USDA Project

21 USDA Project Collaborating Universities UTEP, NMSU, UNM, Texas A&M Agrilife, UACJ, Michigan Tech USDA Funded:

22 USDA Project: Sustainable water resources for irrigated agriculture in a desert river basin facing climate change and competing demands: From characterization to solutions

23 USDA: Core Question How can water be managed so that 3 sectors, agriculture, urban, and environmental, secure a sustainable future in the study area.

24 Questions?

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