The Ogallala Aquifer supports agricultural production and rural communities across eight U.S. states, but the aquifer is being depleted in many areas. Depletion has continued despite numerous institutional and policy interventions, indicating that research and policy have not resulted in physical stabilization of this valuable common pool resource. In this paper, we argue that explicit inquiry into the values motivating groundwater use and management is critical to conservation efforts. We review and integrate prior social science research in the Ogallala region, drawing attention to areas where prior research considers values, implicitly or explicitly, and pointing to new or re-emerging areas for research into the relationship between human values and groundwater use, conservation, and management.
Publication: Lauer, S., M.R. Sanderson, D.T. Manning, J.F. Suter, R.A. Hrozencik, B. Guerrero, and B. Golden (2018). Values and groundwater management in the Ogallala Aquifer region. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 73(5):593-600.