18 research outputs found

    EMERGING AGRICULTURAL WATER CONSERVATION PRICE INCENTIVES

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    Recent Bureau of Reclamation policies encourage or require irrigation districts to adopt price conservation incentives. Using unpublished survey results and new district-level information, we examine the rate structures and incentives of district water pricing. Our findings reveal that the majority of districts use fixed charges independent of the quantity of water delivered and that most conservation rate structures recently implemented are designed so that the first tier quantity allocation satisfies most crop water needs. Although other district management objectives may be satisfied, price incentives are diminished or nonexistent. The question of whether conservation is being achieved is tautological and depends on how each district defines conservation.Resource /Energy Economics and Policy,

    IRRIGATION DISTRICT ADOPTION OF WATER CONSERVING RATE STRUCTURES

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    A binary choice model was used to identify the attributes that influence irrigation district adoption of conservation rate structures. Using principles of rate design and irrigation district administration as a framework, measures of irrigation district rate structure objectives and physical and economic conditions were developed. The factors investigated characterize the constraints under which districts operate, value and cost of water, quantity of water delivered and revenue risk for districts. Rate structure adoption was predicted with over 75% accuracy. Both significant and non-significant factors are key to understanding rate choice. Districts were more likely to adopt conservation rate pricing when the cost of water to farmers was greater, higher value crops were grown and in areas with warmer and longer growing seasons. These conditions may be interpreted as reflecting the presence of greater opportunity costs in allocating water between low and higher valued uses. Conservation rate pricing was less likely to be adopted by districts where the proportion of alfalfa to total acreage was higher and with higher per acre deliveries of water. Somewhat surprisingly, annual variation in water deliveries (which should increase the risk of revenue shortfalls) and size of the district (larger districts being more sophisticated) have little bearing on the type of rate structure adopted.Environmental Economics and Policy, Land Economics/Use, Resource /Energy Economics and Policy,

    El Paso Floods, Federal Agency Responses and Recommendations

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    Beginning in late July and continuing through mid September 2006 the Paso del Norte region, consisting of El Paso City and County, Texas, southern New Mexico and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, experienced a number of record high precipitation events and severe localized and widespread flooding. This paper focuses on federal agency and irrigation district experiences, observations, preliminary assessment of events and management responses and the recommendations arising from these floods

    EVALUATING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CONSERVATION WATER-PRICING PROGRAMS

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    Charging farmers increasing block prices for irrigation deliveries is advocated as a means of encouraging agricultural water conservation in the West. We formulated a model of a hypothetical irrigated river basin to investigate the hyrdro-economic circumstances in which such pricing leads to water conservation. Our results indicate that increasing delivery prices may encourage irrigators to make adjustments with countervailing impacts on consumptive water use and conservation. Whether these countervailing impacts combine to conserve water or increase its consumptive use must be resolved empirically. An alternative resolution of this ambiguity is to assess water prices in terms of consumptive use.Resource /Energy Economics and Policy,

    Estimated Benefits of IBWC Rio Grande Flood-Control Projects in the United States

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    The International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) is responsible for maintaining a series of flood-control projects beginning in New Mexico and extending along the Rio Grande’s international border dividing the United States and Mexico. A review by the USIBWC indicate that, over time, the flood-control capability of the levees has been compromised, possibly to the point where the level of protection is below original-design capacities. Prior to investing federal monies in the rehabilitation of major flood-system infrastructure, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget requires an economic analysis of expected benefits, or losses avoided with implemented protection measures. Recent flood events along the international border, resulting in significant economic damages and loss of human life, emphasized the need for a timely assessment of impacts of potential flood-control failure. Given a short project time line mandated by IBWC and the large geographic extent of the river- and floodway-levee system, innovative methods were developed to conduct a rapid and preliminary economic assessment of the flood-control infrastructure. Estimates for four major project areas relating only to the U.S.-side of the border only (stretching from Caballo Reservoir in New Mexico to the Rio Grande’s mouth, near Brownsville, TX.) comprise the study’s focus. Millions populate the cities and towns along these economic reaches of the Rio Grande where extensive housing, commerce, industry, tourism, and irrigated agricultural production exist. Areas susceptible to flooding, along with land-use, were identified and quantified through high-resolution map imagery. Estimates of representative residential, commercial, and industrial property values and agricultural production values were developed from property assessment records, economic development councils, crop enterprise budgets and cropping patterns, census data, previous U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ flooding studies, etc. Gross economic values of flood-control benefits for a sample of each of the land-use types were determined and extrapolated to similar land-use areas in the flood zone. This analytical method provides a rapidassessment of potential flood-control benefits for a single event for each of the four IBWCdesignated flood-control project areas. An aggregate estimate arrived at by summing the potential benefits across all four project areas assumes avoidance of, or protection against, a simultaneous breach in all areas. Baseline economic benefits for agriculture and developed property along the Rio Grande Canalization project are estimated at 13.7million(basisFY2004).ComparableestimatesfortheRioGrandeRectificationprojectare13.7 million (basis FY 2004). Comparable estimates for the Rio Grande Rectification project are 139.1 million, while those for the Presidio Valley Flood Control project amount to 2.9million.TheLowerRioGrandeFloodControlprojectisestimatedtoprovide2.9 million. The Lower Rio Grande Flood Control project is estimated to provide 167.2 million in flood-control benefits. Combined, the four project areas provide 322.9millioninfloodcontrolprotectionbenefitsinthebaselineanalysis.Whenpreliminaryestimatesof322.9 million in flood-control protection benefits in the baseline analysis. When preliminary estimates of 183.0 million in other costs (i.e., emergency, roads, utilities, and vehicles) are added to the baseline estimate, the total floodcontrol protection benefits provided by the four project areas increases to $506.0 million

    Robust estimation of bacterial cell count from optical density

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    Optical density (OD) is widely used to estimate the density of cells in liquid culture, but cannot be compared between instruments without a standardized calibration protocol and is challenging to relate to actual cell count. We address this with an interlaboratory study comparing three simple, low-cost, and highly accessible OD calibration protocols across 244 laboratories, applied to eight strains of constitutive GFP-expressing E. coli. Based on our results, we recommend calibrating OD to estimated cell count using serial dilution of silica microspheres, which produces highly precise calibration (95.5% of residuals <1.2-fold), is easily assessed for quality control, also assesses instrument effective linear range, and can be combined with fluorescence calibration to obtain units of Molecules of Equivalent Fluorescein (MEFL) per cell, allowing direct comparison and data fusion with flow cytometry measurements: in our study, fluorescence per cell measurements showed only a 1.07-fold mean difference between plate reader and flow cytometry data

    Status, issues and impacts of coal slurry pipelines on agriculture and water

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    January 1988.Bibliography: pages 54-62
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