We estimated the total economic value of groundwater availability in the Ogallala aquifer region to agricultural producers by assessing producers’ “willingness to pay” (WTP) for increasing groundwater availability through an aquifer recharge program. The study finds a median WTP for an additional 100 gallons per minute of well capacity of $77 per well. This WTP estimate depends strongly on baseline levels of current well capacity and climate conditions in specific regions; in hot and dry counties, median WTP for additional well capacity can be as high as $5,000 per well. We use future projections for climate and groundwater availability to show that future willingness to pay for groundwater is likely to increase dramatically, particularly in western portions of the aquifer region.
Publication: Suter, J.F., M. Rouhi Rad, D.T. Manning, C. Goemans, M.R Sanderson (2019). Depletion, climate, and the incremental value of groundwater. Resource and Energy Economics. Available online 20 December 2019, 101143.