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A spatiotemporal model is developed to examine prior appropriations–based water curtailment in Idaho’s Snake River Plain Aquifer. Using a 100 year horizon, prior appropriations–based curtailment supplemented with optimized water use reductions is shown to produce a spatial distribution of water use reductions that differs from that produced by regulatory curtailment based strictly on initial water right assignments. Discounted profits over 100 years of crop production are up to 7% higher when allocation is optimized. Total pumping over 100 years is 0.3%, 3%, and 40% higher under 1, 10, and 100 year prior appropriations–based regulatory curtailment, respectively.

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Copyright 2012 by the American Geophysical Union. DOI: 10.1029/2011WR010609

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