The Arkansas Valley Super Ditch: A Local Response to 'Buy and Dry' in Colorado Water Markets

34 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2011  

Tyler G. McMahon

UN World Food Programme

Mark Griffin Smith

Colorado College - Department of Economics and Business

Date Written: September 5, 2011

Abstract

Across the West, water transfers generate controversy. In Colorado’s Arkansas River basin urban growth and harsh farming conditions have led to water transfers from agricultural to urban uses. Much of this water left the Arkansas basin and was transferred north to the city of Aurora in the South Platte River basin. Several studies have shown that these transfers have had significant secondary economic impacts associated with the removal of irrigated land from production. In response, new methods of sharing water are being developed to allow water transfers that benefit both the farm and urban economies. One such project currently under study is the Arkansas Valley “Super Ditch”, a rotational crop fallowing plan based long-term water leasing designed to provide an annual supply of 31.6 Mm3. This paper analyzes the economic impacts of implementing the "Super Ditch" as a locally developed alternative to "buy and dry".

Keywords: water transfer, rotational fallowing, rotational crop management strategy, IMPLAN, input-output analysis, water supply management, irrigation management

JEL Classification: Q25, Q1, R15

Suggested Citation

McMahon, Tyler G. and Smith, Mark Griffin, The Arkansas Valley Super Ditch: A Local Response to 'Buy and Dry' in Colorado Water Markets (September 5, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1922444 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1922444

Tyler G. McMahon

UN World Food Programme ( email )

United States

Mark Griffin Smith (Contact Author)

Colorado College - Department of Economics and Business ( email )

14 E Cache La Poudre Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
United States

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