Willingness to pay for irrigation water when groundwater is scarce

T. Knapp, K. Kovacs, Q. Huang, C. Henry, R. Nayga, J. Popp, B. Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Conversion to surface water irrigation is one of the critical initiatives to address the decline in groundwater supply. A double-bounded dichotomous choice contingent valuation survey is used to estimate producers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for surface water supplied by irrigation districts in Arkansas, United States. The estimated mean WTP for irrigation water is 2.7 ¢/m3 ($33.21/acre-foot). Comparison indicates a significant share of producers are likely to have higher WTPs for surface water than the average pumping cost in the study area. Producers located in areas with less groundwater resources have higher WTPs. Producers that are more concerned with a water shortage occurring in the state in the next 10 years have higher WTPs. A somewhat unexpected result is that participation in the Conservation Reserve Program predicts lower WTPs. One possible explanation is that farmers see the transfer of land out of crop production as a more viable financial decision when groundwater supply decreases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
JournalAgricultural Water Management
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board, Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, United Soybean Board, and Mid-South Soybean Board.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Groundwater shortage
  • Mississippi River valley alluvial aquifer
  • Willingness to pay for irrigation water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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