The Implications of Surface-Ground Water Hydrology for Optimal Conjunctive Management

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This article addresses the question: How does the hydraulic relationship between surface and ground water affect the economically optimal allocation of water across surface and ground water irrigators? We present an economic model of optimal conjunctive water management that incorporates different hydraulic relationships between surface and ground water.2 We then use that model to simulate observed conditions on the Eastern Snake Plain. The results of the simulation analysis demonstrate that optimal conjunctive management differs significantly with the form of the hydraulic relationship between surface and ground water. More generally, the analysis shows that incorporating the characteristics of natural systems into an economic analysis can inform more efficient policy decisions.

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