The Relationship between Priority and Value of Irrigation Water Used with Prior Appropriation Water Rights

Gi-Eu Lee, Kimberly Rollins and Loretta Singletary


This article examines the relationship between water right priority and value of use for rights defined by prior appropriation, and tests whether this relationship is different for rights that have been transferred from their original locations to new locations, versus those that have not. We develop an empirical model using data for agricultural irrigation water rights and show that for transferred water rights, more senior (higher-priority) rights are reallocated from lower-to higher-valued agricultural uses. For water rights that remained unchanged, we find that priority order and potential profitability, as indicated by land characteristics, are not well aligned. (JEL Q15, Q25)

This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.

Purchase access

You may purchase access to this article. This will require you to create an account if you don't already have one.