Conservation of groundwater resources is critical for maintaining the future productivity of irrigated land in the Ogallala Aquifer Region and beyond. We explore motivations and behavior related to groundwater conservation among agricultural producers in the Colorado portion of the Republican River Basin. Our empirical modeling uses data from a recently conducted survey to analyze how a common set of producer, farm, and resource characteristics influence groundwater values, concern for future groundwater availability, private conservation actions, and support for coordinated conservation efforts. We find that two factors, producer age and land owner status, are consistently correlated with the key conservation-related outcomes we evaluate. More generally, the results suggest considerable similarities in the characteristics that drive private conservation actions and support for coordinated conservation. This knowledge could be used to better target and incentivize future groundwater conservation efforts in the region.
Publication: Shepler, R., J. F. Suter, D.T. Manning, and C. Goemans (2019). Private Actions and Preferences for Coordinated Groundwater Conservation in Colorado’s Republican River Basin. Journal of the American Water Resources Association.
This article is part of a JAWRA featured series: Optimizing Ogallala Aquifer Water Use to Sustain Food Systems.