Retiring Land to Save Water: Participation in Colorado’s Republican River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program

Randall G. Monger, Jordan F. Suter, Dale T. Manning and Joel P. Schneekloth

Abstract

Agricultural land retirement is increasingly used to manage water resources. This study uses well-level enrollment data to explore the factors that influence landowner participation in the Colorado Republican River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. An empirical model of enrollment is informed by a theoretical model of participation that incorporates aquifer and soil characteristics in addition to financial incentives. Our results reveal that enrollment is predicted to increase by 0.087 percentage points with a $10 increase in the incentives offered. The probability of enrollment is also influenced by the aquifer’s saturated thickness and the soil characteristics that impact land productivity. (JEL Q25)

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