Efficiency of Viable Groundwater Management Policies

Todd Guilfoos, Neha Khanna and Jeffrey M. Peterson


We investigate the relative performance of simple groundwater policies in a spatially detailed aquifer and reveal the distribution of net benefits from those policies. Groundwater policy is plagued with a high level of complexity in achieving the first best outcome, which may be costly and politically infeasible to adopt. We parameterize a 8,457-cell spatially detailed model of the northwest Kansas section of the Ogallala Aquifer and find that simple pricing, quantity, and water market policies perform poorly but can be improved upon by localized policies that are more efficient and garner more popular support. (JEL Q15, Q25)